Quilts For A Cause
Nov. 20, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney
When Paige Loft, a lecturer for the Department of Family and Consumer Science was in graduate school at Sam Houston State University, her passion for community service and her Scrappy Quilt Project, resulted in her earning the Reba Bock Fellowship in 2015.
The Reba Bock Fellows Experience provided an opportunity for Loft to make a significant contribution to the local Head Start, a preschool that provides care and education for children from low-income families. Loft noticed children were taking naps with beach towels and in response, created the Scrappy Quilt project. The project encourages students to take pieces of fabric to create a nap-mat sized scrappy quilt to donate to Huntsville’s Head Start.
Four years later, Loft continues to support the project in her own “Introduction to Soft Textiles Construction” class, an Academic Community Engagement course in which students not only learn knowledge and skills, but also actively use them to make a difference in the community.
For most of Loft’s students, this is their first ACE class and many enrolled in the course with little expectations for the outcome of the project.
“I had never been to a Head Start school before and to actually go in and meet the wonderful children and the teachers was an amazing experience,” student Raven McDougald said. “They get money from the government for every volunteer hour they have. My whole class volunteered more than 550 hours and Head Start received a little over $2,000. The more volunteer hours they have, the more they can do for the children.”
The majority of the fabric for the quilts were donated, though some students brought in their own in an effort to personalize them.
“I think getting something handmade is special and a blanket is comforting,” student Lindsey Blanar said. “I tried to make my blanket as bright as I could, with yellows, pinks and mystical unicorns.”
The course focuses on the fundamental principles and techniques of clothing and textiles, though the service aspect impacted many students on a personal level.
“As someone from a low-income daycare, I know that the smallest gifts with a lot of love mean the most,” Blanar said. "This project has been by far the greatest in my college career because it was the first one to incorporate a real-life lesson.”
The students are not the only ones who benefit. ACE courses allow participants to function as vital members of their communities and provide aid to the individuals and organizations being served.
“Not only did we help one child individually, but we helped an entire school,” student Blaire Kunard said. “I really enjoyed being a part of this ACE course.”
Since the Head Start program will always be receiving new children in need, the Scrappy Quilt project will continue to make an impact year after year.
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