Stu­dents Stitch To­gether Quilts And Care For Foster Keiki

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - News - ByALANAFOLEN

Mililani Mid­dle School is do­ing its part to help chil­dren who are ill or in foster care by team­ing up with Fam­ily Pro­grams Hawaii and Project Li­nus Oahu.

Af­ter 600 of the school’s eighth-graders ex­pressed con­cern about the lack of foster care here, they held two ben­e­fit walk-a-thons to help build a new foster-care fa­cil­ity in Wa­ianae. And by rais­ing $15,000 for FPH, they were able to pur­chase a room, cost­ing $10,000, for chil­dren there as each room in the fa­cil­ity is up for sale to ben­e­fit keiki in need.

It was dur­ing their Oc­to­ber 2008 walk-a-thon that they learned of an­other neat idea. “As we were walk­ing around, we were able to meet two women who are in­volved with Project Li­nus Oahu, which col­lects home­made blan­kets for the chil­dren,” said Carolyn Ozaki, one of many teach­ers in­volved in the project. “Project Li­nus in­spired us to help pro­vide blan­kets for the chil­dren who will be placed in Wa­ianae’s Hoomalu O Na Ka­malii fa­cil­ity.”

The Mililani stu­dents first were shown how to sew and cro­chet, and each of them cro­cheted at least one square for their home­made quilt. Some went to greater lengths and learned to chain and dou­ble cro­chet. While ap­pre­hen­sive at first, Ozaki said they took a lik­ing to it.

“It has been a strug­gle to com­plete,” she ad­mit­ted. “How­ever, when they turn in their fi­nal pieces, you can see how proud they are to not only fin­ish it, but know that it will help oth­ers in need. They know that even though their piece is a small sec­tion of the blan­ket, they have made a dif­fer­ence in some­one else’s life.”

Teacher Clavelina Caalim added, “ They got ex­cited about be­ing able to help out peo­ple in their own com­mu­nity. They also loved the idea that mak­ing them some­thing that they could use made them feel like they re­ally helped the foster chil­dren.”

Al­though it is a long process, Ozaki said the stu­dents pre­sented two com­pleted blan­kets to FPH at their eighth-grade aloha cer­e­mony, and they hope to con­tin- ue the project dur­ing this school year.

“Since our room is a nurs­ery, we’re at­tempt­ing to make baby blan­kets, which we hope will be used in at least one of the three cribs,” Ozaki ex­plained. “Once we have enough squares, we will at­tempt to make more blan­kets for the older chil­dren.”

This may be­come an an­nual project for the eighth-grade ser­vice learn­ing classes. Af­ter all, there are 10 bed­rooms in the foster fa­cil­ity, and both stu­dents and teach­ers hope to bless each one with a blan­ket cre­ated out of care and com­pas­sion.

“ The most re­ward­ing as­pect of this project is to see how ex­cited the stu­dents are to learn how to cro­chet, and that they were so ex­cited to be able to cre­ate some­thing that they could give to the foster chil­dren,” Caalim said.“It’s a great feel­ing to see how much they care.”

“It’s also re­ward­ing to know that th­ese kids have big hearts and want to help oth­ers,” added Ozaki.

In Oc­to­ber, Caalim said, 600 MMS stu­dents will stage a walk-a-thon to ben­e­fit a non­profit that works with the home­less pop­u­la­tion.

Jenny Wood, Clav Caalim, Joann Wood and Vince Abramo (rep­re­sent­ing Ho‘omalu O Na Ka­mali‘i foster home) stand with the proud Mililani Mid­dle School quil­ters. Photo from Clav Caalim.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.