Art for a cause: Mobile projects designed to prevent kids from going cross-eyed |

Art for a cause: Mobile projects designed to prevent kids from going cross-eyed

For the past month, first- through sixth- grade students at Prosser Creek Charter School have been making mobiles. Unlike most of their art projects, the students won’t take them home to show off to their parents. The hanging creations won’t decorate their classrooms either.

The mobiles, which are being assembled by Amira Ludwig’s fourth-grade class, will go to babies in orphanages in Third World countries to prevent the children from going cross-eyed.

“I asked myself, ‘How would it feel to be a kid who’s cross-eyed?'” fourth-grader Jared Baldwin said. “So I thought, why not do this.”

Not long ago, Ludwig received an e-mail from Sarah Insel, who volunteered for two months in an orphanage in the Philippines. At the orphanage, two volunteers looked after 60 babies. The children were fed three times a day, changed every five hours and seven babies were placed in each crib, according to Insel.

Needless to say, the children weren’t receiving proper affection and attention needed for development.

After volunteering, Insel did research on the topic of value of touch, affection and physical contact on development of children. In her studies, she also found that 20 percent of Romanian babies are cross-eyed.

“They aren’t ever taken out of their cribs, so all they do is lay on their back all day and stare at their noses. That’s how they get cross-eyed,” Ludwig said. “Then [Insel’s] boyfriend had the idea to make mobiles to stimulate them while they’re laying in the cribs.”

Ludwig said there are groups in 12 different countries working on Insel’s cause.

“It’s been a word-of-mouth thing,” Ludwig said.

After rallying the support of her fellow teachers at Prosser Creek, Ludwig sent a letter out to parents, asking them for miscellaneous items they might have around the house to create mobiles.

Once Ludwig gathered the supplies, the students created decorations for the mobiles like bears, butterflies and stars. Her fourth-grade class has been assembling the ornaments on bamboo crossbars.

Soon Ludwig will ship the bright, colorful mobiles adorning the classroom to Insel in Hawaii. Insel will disperse the mobiles to orphanages in Third World countries.

“I don’t even know if the people in the orphanage know [the mobiles] are coming,” said fourth-grader Benny Rocha. “It makes me happy for those babies who might not get cross-eyed.”

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