Two volunteers and a Children's Hospital patient enjoying the Fall into Reading event on Sept. 18.

The Big Hearts for Little Hearts Loma Linda Guild hosted its annual Fall into Reading event on Monday, Sept. 18, for the patients of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and members of their families.

Guild members joined hospital employees and volunteers in helping young patients and their siblings create colorful paintings on rocks. Some images featured inspirational reminders to stay strong, while others displayed superheroes or colorful animals. Each patient got to select two gifts to take home — one from a library of colorful books and another from a collection of huggable teddy bears. As the children painted, two friendly therapy dogs wended their way through the room, offering affection and encouragement.

Lynn Sleeth, president of the guild, said the purpose of Fall into Reading and similar events the organization hosts throughout the year is to give patients a timeout from illness and hospitalization. “For me, one of the great takeaways of the event was the looks on the children’s faces as they painted the stones,” she said. “They were so focused on what they were doing. I loved it.”