Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Dec
  • 5

Kayla folds the paper and soon angels appear

Posted By December 5, 2013 | 1:09 pm | Lead Story #3

By William T. Clew

WORCESTER – Kayla can take blue-lined paper and fold it precisely so that it looks like an accordion.
And Janet Hardy, a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Parish, can take those paper accordions and, with a few cuts, a wooden bead, wire, colored ribbon and some glue, turn them into angels.
She made many of those angels, sold them at the Blessed Sacrament’s fair Nov. 16 and gave the proceeds – $200 – to the parish. Each angel had with it a short explanation, written by Mrs. Hardy, about Kayla, her special talent and how the angels came to be.
From 2002 to 2005  Mrs. Hardy was a school nurse at the Forest Grove School. She knew Kayla when she was in grades seven and eight.  Kayla graduated in 2004 and moved on to Doherty High School.
Kayla was classified as a “special needs” child. But Mrs. Hardy wrote that she came to see Kayla as a child with“special gifts.”
She said Kayla came to her office every day. Kayla loved to dance. As she danced, she twirled a long piece of bathroom tissue around her “with great delight and enthusiasm,” Mrs. Hardy said. “It would bring a smile to everyone’s face, especially mine.”
She said she got to know Kayla from her daily visits and fell in love with her and the other special needs children who came there.
Kayla’s paper-folding required patience, focus and exacting hand movements, she said.
“For Kayla, it seemed easy; for others (including me) it seemed impossible,” Mrs. Hardy said.
She said she “loves to find ways to recycle ‘stuff.’” So she saved Kayla’s folded paper and put them in a large paper shopping bag. She thought they could be used for something, but what?
Then she found an old Christmas tree ornament in the form of an angel that she had bought at a craft fair and the idea about what to do with Kayla’s folded paper struck her. Had she not found that craft-fair angel, she said, she might never have known what to do with all that folded paper, and Kayla’s angels might not have been born.
She took Kayla’s folded paper and cut it in half. She then cut one half lengthwise. The bottom half became the angel’s body. The other two pieces became the wings. Mrs. Hardy bought some wooden beads, some colored ribbon and some thin wire.
She painted a face on the bead, wired the head to the wings and body, added a small, red, paste-on  heart and some silver and gold sparkles to the wings and  there it was, the first of many of what she named “Angels by Kayla.”
She said she makes six angels at a time because she has ribbons in six colors. She makes them in the basement of her home on a small table where, she said, she has standardized the process into a mini-assembly line.
At the Blessed Sacrament fair she sold 42 of Kayla’s angels, with the story, and raised $187 for the parish. Her daughter-in-law, Andrea Hardy, bought  the 43rd angel for $13 to raise the donation to the parish to an even $200.
Mrs. Hardy still is in touch with Kayla, now 25, and her mother. They live just outside of Worcester. Kayla is not very verbal but she can write a bit. She has some computer skills, Mrs. Hardy said.
Kayla still can fold paper very precisely, and can do many each day. The repetitive actions relax her, Mrs. Hardy said. In her room at home, Kayla has her angels attached to the knobs of each drawer of her bureau.
Mrs. Hardy continues to make angels in the basement of her home and gives them away. She said they can be Christmas tree ornaments, attached to gift packages, accompany get-well messages or hang from a car’s mirror. She has given them away on Valentine’s Day, she said.
Mrs. Hardy said she would like people to know Kayla’s story.
“It’s a beautiful story,” she said. “They would find it inspiring.”
In the little story that accompanies each angel, Mrs. Hardy writes: “It is my hope that this little experience with Kayla will help others to see that a ‘simple task should not be judged by the visible reality only, but by the possibilities it inspires.’”