Friday, September 29, 2023

MSU students collecting cards for hospitalized kids

October 26, 2017
Tyler Logan and Yamani Vinson, holding some of the cards they have received in their Halloween card drive. Photo courtesy of Logan and Vinson.
Tyler Logan and Yamani Vinson, holding some of the cards they have received in their Halloween card drive. Photo courtesy of Logan and Vinson. —

Halloween isn't known for being the most heart-warming time of year, what with all the skeletons and ghouls and such.

Psychology senior Yamani Vinson and grad student Tyler Logan are changing that by spreading a Christmas-like joy to sick children. The two Spartans have started a Halloween card drive, collecting cards and candy for kids at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing and, potentially, beyond.

Vinson said the idea was born as she was scrolling through Twitter last week, when she came across a tweet from someone with brain cancer requesting Halloween cards. After taking a screenshot of the post and sharing her idea to make cards on various group chats, she quickly got a response from Logan, who was willing to not only help, but expand the idea.

"He literally called me 30 minutes later and he was like, 'So, how about we take this to a bigger scale? How about we do more cards?'" Vinson said. "He then forwarded me an email, and it was basically him explaining everything that he wanted to do and how he had reached out to the Sparrow Foundation." 

Other organizations have helped bring the total to where it currently stands. Although Vinson's original idea was to personally make the cards and drop them off at Sparrow, groups like sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha — who ended a recent resume workshop by making cards for the drive — and many others have expanded the idea into something neither Vinson or Logan expected.

"All over campus, people have been coming and donating cards, candy and a few monetary donations for supplies," Vinson said. 

In about a week, the two have collected about 200 cards, tripling Logan's goal of providing one card for each child in the pediatrics and emergency care units at Sparrow. The unexpected haul, collected largely through word-of-mouth, has led Logan and Vinson to begin looking to other Lansing-area hospitals to bring the cards.

Despite the assistance from outside organizations, Logan said the act of organizing the card drive was solely the product of himself and Vinson. He says that is important to remember, not so the pair receive attention and praise, but so others can see their individual ideas can inspire change as well.

"'Spartans Will,' so if you have an idea and you're passionate about it, just go forth and do it, especially if it's going to impact lots of others in a positive way," Logan said. "You don't necessarily need the support of hundreds or even dozens of people. It just takes one person to change something."

Logan, whose field of study is health and risk communication, felt the project was a natural extension of his studies. He said it's a duty of those that are privileged enough to celebrate holidays to try and help those who can't, and that bringing sick children a little holiday spirit — even if it is the spookiest of all holidays — is more than worthwhile.

"Many of those children in the hospital need a positive, uplifting message to help them progress throughout their health and get out of there as soon as they can," Logan said. "Positive messages tend to have that effect on our health. ... It'll help pass along that positive vibe that we want them to have to help push along their healing." 

Drop-off locations include the OCAT office in Student Services Room 339 and the Black Student Alliance in G-25 Hubbard Hall. The card drive will continue until Friday, Oct. 27.

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