East Meadow Girl Scouts Cassandra Nikiel and Nicole Pupo have been drawing their entire lives. The Woodland Middle School students, and McVey alum, spend countless hours perfecting their skills, and once had their work displayed at an All County exhibit at Adelphi University.
So when it came time to seek an initiative to earn their Troop 1404 Silver Award, they stuck to what they do best.
Earlier this summer, the girls contacted Heather Spanfelner, the activity specialist at the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, and shared their idea: they wanted to paint colorful portraits of cartoon characters to put smiles on the faces of kids in the pediatric ward. Hospital officials were all for it.
Cassandra, 13, and Nicole 12, then went to the drawing board — literally. After several weeks, the result was 32 pictures of familiar characters such as Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse, Spongebob Squarepants, Pluto the dog, Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck and much more.
Tracy Pupo, Nicole’s mother, said she loved seeing the happy expressions on Nicole and Cassandra’s faces every time they completed a new picture. “They would both stand there smiling proudly, waiting to show me what they had done,” she said.
The girls even took their efforts a step further, collecting coupons to afford acrylic box frames from local arts and crafts stores. “They gave up a good part of there summer to get the pictures done,” added Margaret Nikiel, Cassandra’s mother. “To see these two girls come running down my stairs after they each finished a picture and see the smiles on there faces is priceless.”
In August, the girls delivered the framed pictures to the hospital, and Shelley Lotenberg, a spokeswoman for the medical center, said the drawings would indeed be hung in the rooms of the pediatric ward. “We are grateful that the local East Meadow Girl Scouts have chosen the NUMC pediatric unit for their art donation,” Lotenberg said. “It is much appreciated by our patients, families and staff and will surely provide lots of cheers and smiles to our children who are hospitalized in their rooms, some for weeks.”