Editor’s note: Patients and visitors must wear a mask inside Corewell Health facilities. Masks were worn according to policy and were removed only for photos. 


Wednesday evening, Tomas Ruiz shined his flashlight onto the windows of Corewell Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

“We want to say goodnight to the kids inside the hospital,” said Tomas, 17, a student at Spring Lake Public Schools.

It was the first Project Night Lights that Tomas had attended—he’d heard about it from a volunteer club at school that encourages community involvement.

“This is something I can do to make other people feel good,” he said.

He and a group of classmates from Spring Lake Public Schools stood among the dozens of community members who had gathered on the sidewalk outside the children’s hospital to celebrate Project Night Lights.

The event, hosted on the second Wednesday of each month, invites young patients to shine flashlights from the children’s hospital windows as the crowd joins in with flashlights from the sidewalks below. It’s organized in conjunction with Silent Observer.

The visitors are united in the common goal of spreading good cheer.

Several law enforcement agencies are always on hand, with lights on firetrucks and police cruisers flashing brightly in support of the kiddos.

Tomas said Spring Lake students wanted to bring good feelings to the kids. He’d been in the children’s hospital for treatment before, so he knows the value of shining a ray of hope and happiness into their lives.

“I have received a lot of care from doctors at the hospital, and I am grateful for them,” Tomas said. “Even though I can’t see the kids in person, I like making their day feel a little brighter.”

His classmate, 10th-grader Sophia Clark, 15, also attended Project Night Lights for the first time.

“I think it’s a really cool experience,” Sophia said. “My sister was in the hospital for two weeks and it’s really nice to have people recognize that you’re there and support you.

“It’s a great way to put them in a happy mood and recognize that they are there—connecting with them on a personal level that couldn’t always happen.”

Up in the children’s hospital, Skylar Darga, 16, stood at the window of her room, waving a snowflake-shaped glow stick. Her mother, Jessica, stood by her side.

“I think this is a very thoughtful thing to do for us in here,” Skylar said. “It’s like the Fourth of July, but on the ground.”

The team from Spring Lake Public Schools also participated in a flashlight donation recently to support Project Night Lights.

Ben Armey, principal at Spring Lake High School, said he’s proud of his students for their enthusiasm.

“This is a powerful moment where a small act by Spring Lake students can have a meaningful impact outside the walls of their classroom,” Armey said.