Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

LTMS students quilting for a cause

October 18, 2007

When eighth-grader Alaina Doherty worked on her quilt in her family and consumer sciences class at Lexington Trails Middle School, she thought about the children and the families it would help.

"I liked thinking of them and their babies and what they would think when they take them home," she said.

FACS teacher Erica Williams had her eighth-grade students work in groups to make blankets for Project Linus, a non-profit organization that provides blankets to give a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill or traumatized.

The quilt project was a chance for the students to use the sewing skills they learned in FACS as seventh-graders.

"I wanted to give them a chance to use their sewing skills because they are still pretty fresh at sewing, but use their skills to help somebody else," Williams said. "Especially in areas like Johnson County, it's easy for us to forget there are people out there who need basic things."

Williams introduced the quilt project in this, her second year at Lexington Trails. But before coming to the De Soto school district, Williams had her students in New Mexico make quilts and donate them to a homeless shelter, and she was looking for something similar in De Soto.

"Since I'm pretty new to the area, I don't know all of the organizations here in Kansas City. I wanted to do a community service type project, and I wanted to do quilts. I started looking around, and I came across Project Linus."

Project Linus, named for the Peanuts character Linus who is almost never seen without his blanket, distributes hundreds of blankets a month to children in hospitals, shelters and social service agencies. The quilts are collected at central locations and generally are dispersed in the area, Williams said.

"Ninety-nine percent of the blankets that are made in Kansas City, stay in Kansas City," she said.

The blankets make a difference, especially for children taken out of their homes, Williams said.

"By giving them a blanket -- something that is portable, that is constant -- they have that with them and it really helps them to adjust," she said.

Eighth-grader Maddy Wolfe said she liked that she was helping the community by working on a blanket.

"It felt fun because you especially think that you are going to help some little kids," she said.

Williams said she planned to continue the quilt project next year, and she wanted it to become a Lexington Trails tradition.

"I really want this to be something that the kids look forward to," she said.

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