Big Hearts Little Hands


Big Hearts Little Hands is a wonderful, PTO-sponsored service project/event put on by all the students of Willard school. It is a great opportunity to teach our students about the gift of service, and for them to connect with the older generation of our community. The students are the hosts, and our guests are senior citizens of the community, including senior relatives, friends, and neighbors of students, and also residents of area nursing homes (some homes even send a bus).

Every student is involved in some manner — some directly interact with our senior guests, and others work “behind the scenes.” First and fourth graders provide the choral music, pre-kindergarteners and kindergarteners decorate heart cutouts for the stage, and second graders decorate thank you notes for sweet-treat favors, which are put together by Kindly Wizards with donations from local vendors. Third graders play a prominent role, working in “shifts” as greeters, door holders, servers (assisted by parent volunteers), passing out favors and flowers, and helping our guests at the coat racks.

After the concert, our guests are directed to the gymnasium (you won’t recognize it!) where they are seated and served hot tea, coffee, and a spread of delicious baked goods, baked by parent volunteers and donated by area bakeries. At the conclusion of the event, each guest is given a fresh carnation and a favor by one of our third grade students as they exit the gym.

2018 marked the 30th year of this event. In 2008, Madonna Weldon, the former Willard parent who founded Big Hearts Little Hands, passed away one month before the event’s 20th anniversary. Diane Mahoney was a Willard parent in 1988, and still remembers the PTO meeting where the program idea received a unanimous vote. We now honor Mrs. Weldon’s memory with an engraved silver tea service set that is displayed at the center of the treats table.