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The Heart Project makes magic for sick kids all around the world at Christmas

Donna Coutts, December 17, 2019 8:00AM Kids News

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Archie having a surf with Santa. Picture edited by Karen Alsop media_cameraArchie having a surf with Santa. Picture edited by Karen Alsop

humanities

Reading level: green

Magic happens in children’s hospitals around the world each Christmas.

Teams of kind and talented people, including photographers and photo artists, create incredible images that visually* transport sick kids from their hospital beds to Christmas wonderlands.

It’s called The Heart Project and began at Monash Children’s Hospital, Victoria, in 2016.

Paige high fives Santa out in the snow. Picture edit by Renee Robyn media_cameraPaige high fives Santa out in the snow. Picture edited by Renee Robyn

This year, in the lead up to Christmas, there were photo sessions in 11 locations in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Canada and the US involving 60 photo editors and 200 volunteers and resulting in more than 400 magical portraits.

Jacob and Santa battle it out as the reindeer look on. Picture edited by Ben Shirk media_cameraJacob and Santa play a game as reindeer look on. Picture edited by Ben Shirk
Cooking up some Christmas treats with Santa. Picture edited by Mark Heath media_cameraCooking up some Christmas treats with Santa. Picture edited by Mark Heaps
Etobicoke with Santa. Picture edited by Angelo VanDerKlift media_cameraEtobicoke with Santa. Picture edited by Angelo VanDerKlift
India taking a ride in Santa's sleigh high above a snowy town. Picture edited by Kris Anderson media_cameraIndia taking a ride in Santa’s sleigh high above a snowy town. Picture edited by Kris Anderson
The "before" photo of India with Santa, taken in hospital, before photo artists create the finished image. media_cameraIndia with Santa, photographed in hospital. After the photos are taken, photo artists create the finished image using photo editing software called Photoshop.

The project was begun and is led by Melbourne-based photo artist Karen Alsop and involves first photographing the kids in hospital.

Camera company Nikon and tech company Epson this year partnered with The Heart Project and helped run workshops around Australia training volunteers to take the photos so the project can continue to grow around the world each year.

“We believe photos go beyond just the moments themselves. They create memories, allowing us to treasure these experiences for a lifetime,” said Nikon’s John Young.

The photos are then transformed into incredibly realistic-looking photo artworks by Ms Alsop and an expanding team of photo editors and artists.

The HeArt Project

GLOSSARY

visually: to do with seeing and sight

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What Australian state is the Monash Children’s Hospital in?
  2. How many portraits did the teams create this Christmas?
  3. When and where did The Heart Project begin?
  4. Why can’t the children be home for Christmas?
  5. What were the workshops for?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. The Spirit of Giving
Karen and the other volunteers of The Heart Project really embody the giving spirit of Christmas time. Work with a partner to brainstorm all of the different ways you have seen or heard of people giving to others this Christmas. Remember that giving does not have to mean the giving of money or objects, it can be the giving of time or effort to bring joy too.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social Capability

2. Extension
Think of a skill you have that you could share with others to bring joy this Christmas. Write a paragraph to explain what you could do and for who, and how you think it would make you and them feel.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social Capability

VCOP ACTIVITY
Punctuation Thief
Pick a paragraph from the article, or about 3 sentences together if that’s easier, and rewrite it without the punctuation. At the bottom of the page write a list of all the punctuation you stole and in the order you stole it. For example; C , . C .

Then swap your book with another person and see if they can work out where the punctuation needs to go back to.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Send a Get Well Soon or Christmas message to kids who have to be in hospital this Christmas.
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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