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A student and teacher talking about an assignment
Soldiers of Hope

June 15, 2018

FISHERS, IN: On any given Wednesday afternoon, Susan Krapinski’s classroom is flooded with students who are drawing and painting.
Krapinski is an art teacher at Riverside Intermediate School and is the club sponsor of Soldiers of Hope, a group that is creating works of art to be donated to nearby cancer treatment facilities.
Krapinski says the artwork crafted by her students will hang on the walls to give patients something bright, colorful and inspiring to look at while they undergo their treatment.
“It is surprising to me that even at such a young age, all of my students have somehow been affected by cancer, so no one is really immune. They all wanted to do it for somebody they knew.”
Soldiers of Hope is also very personal for Krapinski, who lost her daughter to cancer in 2006.
“I started rethinking how I thought about how I approached life because of her,” Krapinski said.
Since then Krapinski has become very involved in spreading awareness and support for cancer patients and survivors, alike. Soldiers of Hope is one way she is giving back and allowing her students to do the same.
The club has 37 members who will pick their favorite piece of work to frame and donate.  
“I’ve been trying to paint inspiring things to make the person who has cancer have an easier day,” said fifth grader Ashland Wilson. “I like to use ‘stay strong’ and ‘stay happy’ on my pictures.”
During their creative process, the students have also been introduced to cancer survivors, who all have a different story to share with the class.
“Doing this [painting] makes me feel good, because I am able to do something positive for others,” adds fifth grader Bella Hightower.
This is the second year for Soldiers of Hope. Last year, Krapinski delivered more than 50 pieces of art to Columbus Regional Health.
She says when patients complete their treatment, they may choose a piece of art to take home with them.
The students understand that their art has real value and meaning, so they work diligently to create the perfect masterpiece.
Krapinski says the amount of empathy and desire her students have displayed throughout this process has been uplifting.
“To understand that their small gesture will brighten up someone’s day and to be truly excited to give their artwork to a person they will never meet just makes me swell with pride. They definitely have a servant’s heart.”
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