We think that Mark, who drew this card that Dick received this week, has a future as a cartoonist. A packet of 20 handwritten, hand-drawn thank you notes from Oahu arrived at Dick’s, Cora’s and Connie’s houses, each unique card made by a sixth grader at Honowai Elementary School in Waipahu. (You may recall that Cora and Connie traveled from their respective homes in Nevada and Colorado to care for Dick after I had to leave Honolulu to return home. They all stayed another two weeks in a house we rented in Pearl City.)
Apparently about 60 keiki (children) were recently trained in CPR and the use of an AED, thanks to donations from Dick, Cora and Connie to Kids4CPR, the nonprofit part of the AED Institute. This is just one of many trainings volunteers with Kids4CPR do all over Hawaii, and, it turns out, these kinds of donations will ensure that the small program continues.
Dick, Cora and Connie knew that their donations would be used to train kids in these lifesaving techniques, but they didn’t know they’d be so richly thanked.
We liked this card from Kenneth, too:
Diana Sellner, program coordinator of Kids4CPR, also sent a note:
“As you know, CPR training for kiddos is so important. The kiddos really enjoy CPR training and soak up the info like sponges. Here are some thank you cards written by students at Honowai Elementary School. This was Honowai’s first time receiving training. They had so much fun that they immediately scheduled for 2020.”
According to a letter that also came from Morgan Hawley, relations manager for Kids4CPR, Inc., “Each year in the U.S., nearly 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside hospitals, and less than 30% will receive CPR from a bystander. Without immediate bystander CPR and defibrillation, a victim’s chance of survival decreases 10% for each minute that passes. The national survival rate from cardiac arrest is less than 10% and potentially even less in Hawaii.”
This is the essence of what the kids learned: that CPR stands for call (911), push (do chest compressions) and respond (EMS personnel come to help). Kids4CPR’s mission is to improve the cardiac arrest survival rate in Hawaii, Hawley said. By teaching lifesaving CPR and AED use in schools, they hope “to help turn the sudden cardiac arrest (death) statistics upside down.”
The idea is that after training them, like the Honowai keiki in sixth grade, their skills “will be reinforced as they progress through school,” Hawley wrote. “By the time they graduate, we hope to have created a generation of CPR/AED-savvy students who have the confidence and willingness to save a life. Future heroes in training!”
Here’s more that we learned from their website:
• Kids4CPR is a 100% volunteer-run organization. “Teaching children to save a life and be a superhero is what we do best.”
• “A key component of our program is encouraging and inspiring students to go out and teach family and friends, exponentially increasing the number of potential lifesavers in the community. Everyone benefits from children receiving CPR training because of their willingness to share what they learned with others.”
Pam Foster, the founder of the AED Institute, taught her first kids’ CPR class at Iolani School in 2005. In 2009-2010 Pam met Sharon Maekawa, whose 28-year-old daughter died of a cardiac arrest at the school where she was a teacher. No one there knew CPR, and there was no AED on campus. Together, Pam and Sharon formed Hawaii Heart Foundation, which was renamed Kids4CPR. Since 2010 the organization has trained more than 100,000 kids for free in CPR and the use of AEDs.
“In the last two years,” she says, “the foundation has had growing pains. We have a lot of requests for classes but can only offer about two to three classes per month because the AED Institute is so busy.”
Kids4CPR has struggled to find funding, as well, Pam told us, adding that she’s not sure how long they can continue doing trainings in schools. “The schools do see the importance, but do not want to teach it themselves,” she says. “Who knows what the future holds, but [training kids] is a passion.”
These are kids like Brehannan, whose letter arrived in the package sent to Connie.
“I would like to thank you for teaching me CPR cause when I was little people would ask me what was my dream and I would say help people and save people and you helped me learn what CPR means and what to do when they collapsed or at least something happens and what to be and say. Now that you taught me I can accomplish my younger self dreams so thank you.”
We can’t guarantee great cards like this if you or someone you know donates to Kids4CPR, but if you do, and if you receive gratitude in this form from a bunch of eager sixth graders, tell us about it. It seems like a great gift to us. You can make a tax-deductible donation to Kids4CPR to help them continue this great work and even mention Dick Schmidt, if you like.
He’s kind of a superhero now, too.