Avon Lake resident Lori Kolofer Burk sensed a community whose spirit was slowly being crushed by fear, restrictions and uncertainty about the future. So she reached into her experience with early childhood education, and working with teachers to maximize learning techniques, and remembered a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) experiment that involved melting plastic beads to see what would happen.

Thus was born the idea of making colorful plastic hearts by melting beads in heart-shaped muffin pans. She would then become a “heart fairy,” hanging the hearts wherever she felt they were needed. With help from her family — particularly her mother, Peg Kolofer, 73, and daughter Eloise Kolofer, 14 — Burk has spread her spirit-lifting heart gifts in Avon Lake and surrounding cities.

The media soon noticed and Burk’s efforts have been recognized by newspapers and TV stations throughout Northeast Ohio. “I’m not really used to all the attention,” she said recently.

Burk, 47, created a Facebook group called “I spy a heart in Avon Lake-ish,” which has more than 1,000 followers. “You can’t buy love,” as Burk says, but each 1-pound bag of beads costs $7 and makes 16 hearts. She is ordering the beads from Amazon and has lost count of the number of hearts she has distributed. Targets include nursing and extended-care homes, as well as anyone she feels (or has heard) needs a lift.

Anyone with special requests of someone needing a visit from the heart fairy should email Burk at koloferburk@yahoo.com.

The outpouring of gratitude has been astounding, she said. “I just want to spread love.”

(P.S. This is a secret …. Speaking of love, Burk’s daughter Eloise turned 14 on Tuesday. Burk would love it if people, even belatedly, could send her a birthday greeting. They should be addressed to Eloise Kolofer, 10 Landings Way, Avon Lake, OH 44012).

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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