Grand Blanc students spend coronavirus shutdown serving others

Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT
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(6/11/2020) - During quarantine, two Grand Blanc teachers challenged their students to do something for others over the last few months.

Their acts of kindness are still making a big impact.

"Even though we were isolated and we were separated, this movement allowed people to be drawn together," Grand Blanc High School teacher Todd Babiasz said.

When he found out students wouldn't be returning to their classrooms for the remainder of the year, Babiasz wanted to make sure a big piece of their curriculum wasn't forgotten -- what's called the Positivity Project.

“I wanted them to continue to think about serving other people and that they can still be empowered and still do something even though crisis comes,” he said. “That they're just not victims to this, that they can be producers of something positive.”

Babiasz challenged the students to choose at least one of the 24 Positivity Project character traits and put it into action.

Middle school student Joshua Tewolde got his brother on board and the two took their musical talents to local nursing homes.

COVID-19 restrictions put a stop to visitors and in his project, Tewolde explained he didn't want the seniors to feel alone. So, he offered to play a concert over video chat.

Their talent reached nursing homes throughout Michigan. The two were having so much fun that they expanded their concert across the country. So far, the brothers have played for countless nursing homes in 17 states.

High school junior Quinn Hilliker enlisted her whole family to create masks for health care workers.

"Everyone had their own job -- grandpa and dad cutting the fabric, mom and I sewing and Uncle Stan, Nolan and dad cutting out the filters, which look like this,” she said in her project video.

They're up to 350 masks and counting.

“I didn't think it was gonna be that big of a deal,” HIlliker said. “But then, I saw a bunch of the nurses and stuff posting about it and just like, it was really cool to see like how you're affecting everything.”

That confidence in her ability to make a real difference, even while stuck at home, is exactly what Babiasz hoped for.

“When they choose to take what they do well and what they love and then share that with other people, that's what was overwhelming for me. To see the variety and the degree about how a positive impact could be made,” he said.

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