Senior Paige Martin Teaches How to Save Lives Through the Hands For Hearts Club


Photo Courtesy of Paige Martin

“Performing CPR… can double or triple someone’s chance of survival,” senior Paige Martin said.

Kendall Whiteside, Assistant Editor

While cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a well-known skill, not everybody is adequately trained to perform it. In an attempt to change this, senior Paige Martin created the Hands for Hearts club.

“I believe that everyone should know how to perform CPR, use [an automated external defibrillator], and help someone who is choking,” Martin said. 

Martin named the club Hands for Hearts, and since founding the club, she has been joined by other students, who have already been taught the skills needed for CPR as class facilitators. This year, the club has 39 members, with Athletic Director Mr. Chris George as the club’s staff moderator. 

Over the years, Martin has taken many CPR classes and gone through several training experiences, such as working with certified CPR instructors as an administrative assistant, which have allowed her to provide classes to students in a free and convenient way. “I wanted to find a way to provide all families, especially those underserved, with the tools they need to help save a loved one’s life, regardless of cost,” she said.

While the Hands for Hearts club only includes La Salle students, Martin also helps lead non-certification classes to those outside the La Salle community as a facilitator. “Pre-COVID, club members would have the opportunity to join me in facilitating, helping students with technique and skill work,” she said.

With Martin’s efforts to establish the Hands for Hearts club, she has run into a few challenges — the biggest being COVID-19.

“Because CPR requires in-person, close-proximity training, this makes it especially difficult to facilitate classes, so they’re currently put on hold until it is safe to resume classes,” she said. 

To combat this challenge, Martin has shared short informational videos on the club’s Schoology page, as well as brief refresher clips demonstrating CPR skills.

Along with informational videos, Martin has provided other resources to members who ask for further information, such as facilitator guide booklets. 

In 2019, Martin received La Salle’s Dare to Dream grant, an award that supports innovation at La Salle, which allowed her to purchase American Heart Association-approved training equipment for the club. 

Martin uses CPR manikins and AED trainers, along with the course video guide, which helps her facilitate the class.

Despite the fact that Martin is too young to use this equipment or become a certified CPR instructor, she continues to serve as a facilitator in the Hands for Hearts club.

On top of being a registered facilitator, Martin is also Basic Life Support (BLS) certified. 

A facilitator position is open to anyone who is interested in sharing their knowledge on CPR, whereas an instructor needs to have completed the Instructor Essentials Course and be proficient in certain disciplines. 

These disciplines include Basic Life Support — a type of care provided to anyone who is experiencing cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, or an obstructed airway — Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support — the next level of care after basic measures for the urgent treatment of cardiac arrest, stroke, heart attack — and Heartsaver — a course designed for those who are not in the medical field, nannies, parents, babysitters that is normally accompanied by first aid certification.

While this is a club that mostly associates itself with La Salle, Martin has reached out to the greater community for assistance on finding a space to hold classes. 

“The Hands for Hearts program was very lucky to have access to the [Happy Valley] Library meeting room as a space to facilitate classes,” she said. “The Happy Valley Library and the city of Happy Valley also helped with advertising, distributing surveys I created to garner interest, and putting out informational ads in their newsletters, online, and in the Happy Valley newspaper.”

Martin believes that opportunities to learn how to master life-saving skills such as CPR should be readily available. “It’s a chain reaction,” Martin said. “The more people who know these skills the more people can be saved.” 

“The biggest reward is knowing families in our community can save lives,” she said. “This way, I feel like we’ve truly responded to La Salle’s mission of ‘Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.’”