News center
Grade-A components, exacting quality protocols.

Good News: Children to receive 'Project Linus' security blankets

Jun 01, 2023

For Linus of "Peanuts" fame, the blanket is a symbol of emotional security and warmth. So it seems only fitting that a program to provide handmade blankets to children who are undergoing medical treatment or who have experienced trauma should be dubbed Project Linus.

The blankets are in child-friendly colors. Some are decorated with fringe. Some sport animal prints. Some are quilts and crocheted or knitted afghans. On a recent Saturday, about 30 women made 25 fleece blankets during the project's annual Make a Blanket Day.

Another 84 women knitted, crocheted and quilted blankets that were donated by area churches and women's groups.

Nancy Hughes Lynch organized Project Linus Jax, the local chapter of the national nonprofit, in 1998. She estimates that 400 to 500 blankets a year are distributed in the Jacksonville area. Lynch, who is a member of inShape Ladies Fitness on Craven Road, asked owners Clara LeBlanc and Sandra Salem if she could use the space for her event in 2015, and it was held there again this year, a news release said.

The blankets will be distributed to local charities, including UF Health Jacksonville's pediatric unit and proton therapy clinic. Kathleen Plymel, pediatric child life specialist at UF Health, came to the event to make a few blankets and to tell participants how they are used to comfort sick children, the release said.

Here's more good news:

¦ Enterprise Integration recently donated $30,000 to Daniel Kids as a sponsor of the nonprofit's 15th annual Golf Classic on Monday, March 14. The Jacksonville-based IT company has donated $200,000 over the past 15 years to help the abused, neglected and emotionally troubled children served by Daniel.

In addition, Enterprise has given Daniel $100,000 in monetary donations and $175,000 worth of computers and technology over the course of their partnership, a news release said.

"I'm constantly amazed by the Daniel Kids staff who give their hearts and souls to helping kids get better every day," Enterprise CEO Mike Locher said in the release. "That's why we'll be helping Daniel until we breathe no more breath."

¦ Jaguars safety Craig Loston is headed to Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday to teach youths how to play the game. He's going with nine other NFL ambassadors as part of American Football Without Barriers. The athletes will conduct technical drills, teach leadership skills and host a coaches clinic and an all-star football game. Off the field, they will engage in a variety of community outreach initiatives. For example, Loston will visit the Children's Cancer Hospital.

"The trip is an opportunity to share a game we love with the rest of the world and make a difference in the lives of others," Loston said in a news release.

¦ Riley Krotz, a science teacher at Fletcher Middle School, is being honored for creativity and innovation in classroom instruction. He will receive the Community First Innovation Prize, which comes with $1,000, at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund's 25th annual EDDY Awards Saturday, March 12.

The prize and grants given to the Innovation finalists are part of PowerUP Jax, an initiative of the education fund and sponsored by Community First Cares Foundation. Krotz plans to develop critical thinking skills by exposing students to science, technology, engineering and math. Students will design and build a robot to solve a specific problem.

Ten $500 grant winners also were selected. They are: Misty Allen, Stockton Elementary; Shaun Bennett, Ortega Elementary; Priscilla Hardage, Chimney Lakes Elementary; Malik Jackson, Highlands Middle; Phyleshia Jones, Ribault High; Maria McMahon, Lone Star Elementary; Ginny Raynolds, GRASP Academy; and Gayle Fiser, Usharani Puranam and Elizabeth Thomas, Darnell-Cookman Middle/High School.

Residents can read more about the projects on Facebook and have until Monday, March 7, to vote for one teacher to receive a bonus award of $150 in a "Lightning Round." Go to to vote.

¦ On a recent "break the dress code" day, Jacksonville Country Day School raised more than $700 for charity. Student Council members used part of the money to buy socks at Target for patients at Wolfson Children's Hospital. They also assembled 50 "Art to Go" bags for patients in the Art With A Heart in Healthcare program at Wolfson. The brightly colored tote bags contained the socks, a sketch pad, colored pencils, oil pastels, an eraser, duct tape pen handmade by council members and watercolors.

"The bags that we are giving the children are just amazing," Adaire Tarrant, a sixth-grade student, said in a news release. "I couldn't believe that we were giving that much stuff, and I couldn't be happier. The socks and bags will really make the patients happy, and they will know that people are thinking about them and hoping for them to get better."

Have good news? Send items to [email protected]. You can fax them to (904) 359-4478 or mail them to The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL 32231.

Sandy Strickland: (904) 359-4128

Nancy Hughes LynchClara LeBlanc Sandra SalemKathleen Plymelgood newsMike LocherCraig LostonRiley KrotzMisty AllenShaun BennettPriscilla HardageMalik Jackson,Phyleshia JonesMaria McMahonGinny RaynoldsGayle FiserUsharani PuranamElizabeth ThomasAdaire Tarrant