August and September Monthly Projects

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and do apologize but I’m still dealing with moving issues, will it ever end???  We did make it to California and are enjoying the family, the weather and the beach but am not enjoying putting the new home in order. I got rid of loads of “stuff” before leaving Illinois but still have plenty to unpack as I refused to leave without my sewing supplies! Hoping to get the sewing room set up this week so I can get back to work for the next two projects. I’ve tried to keep people informed of monthly projects through our Facebook page and the Sew For Kids Yahoo group, but for those of you not receiving those updates August is “Back to School Supplies” and September will be “Back to School Clothing”. The message has been getting out though as many of you have sent in some wonderful donations for the projects.

School started on the Rez August 19 which is a little earlier than some areas but their school year ends earlier in May. Unfortunately Rez schools this year are dealing with lots of cutbacks, worsened by the sequester, as are the majority of US schools. However, schools on the Rez have fewer resources for the kids and teachers each and every school year, mainly because they get less money per student than do those of other schools across the country. Not having the proper resources to run a classroom makes teaching more difficult which affects the quality of education children are receiving. Rez teachers also don’t receive the salaries that teachers off the Rez get so they can’t afford to take from their own pockets to buy classroom supplies like so many of our dedicated teachers. Lets hear it it for our teachers!

Students are in need of school supplies throughout the year but they especially need them  when classes begin so they get off to a good start.  Hearts of the Sacred Spirit, (the 501c organization we work under) held a school supply drive too through their “Yearning For Learning” project and received many donations as well. Our school supply drive goes until the end of August but supplies are always needed so now is the time to stock up and take advantage of all those sales. Please send your donations to Jerome and Theresa High Horse here, they will make sure your donations get into the hands of needy children.

Kristy from Hopeful Threads and her dedicated crew are making pencil cases for our Rez kids, you can see their project here. If you would like to join them, pencil case patterns are available on https://www.facebook.com/HopefulThreads and also on their Pinterest site http://pinterest.com/hopefulthreads/pouches-purses-bags/ .This group is also sending in school supplies to go along with the pencil cases, check out their Flickr site to see some of their donations. Many thanks to Kristy and ALL the volunteers that sew along with her each month helping kids on the Rez and other people in need through the many projects they work on throughout the year.

Backpacks are always a huge need as they are a more expensive item and most parents don’t have the funds to purchase them for their children. Older children prefer “store bought” bags with bright colors and popular characters on them but younger ones are happy with ones that we can make and they have the added bonus of being washable.  Here are a few patterns to use if you wish to make your own, be creative use bright kid prints or make a bag from the ever popular recycled jeans.   

http://craftymomof4boys.blogspot.com/2011/12/drawstring-backpack-tutorial.html

http://mamaurchin.com/pats-tuts-and-how-tos/how-to-sew-a-string-backpack/

http://weallsew.com/2013/08/02/back-to-school-backpack-roundup/

http://snips-and-spice.blogspot.com/2011/03/childs-drawstring-backpack.html

http://www.fishsticksdesigns.com/patterns/bags/the-playdate-bag/

Since September is right around the corner we’ve decided to list the needs for that project too which is “Back to School Clothes”.  Kids need socks,underwear, long sleeve shirts and T shirts and long pants.  Clothing can be made from your favorite pattern or purchased new or gently used from thrift stores or garage sales.  Please check out our clothing donation guidelines here before sending used items.  We’ll try to get some patterns up for those who like to sew children’s clothing and underwear, socks can be knitted for those of you with that skill. Clothing is mainly sewn for children through sizes 10/12 as older kids are wearing adult clothing. Kids like to go to school properly dressed and some Rez parents will keep their children home until they receive money from their next food check in order to purchase decent clothing. This not only affects the child who starts to fall behind early in his learning but also affects the student count for the year and the funding given to the school not to mention the reduction in funds needed to purchase food for the family.  Schools receive a certain amount of funding per child per day from the Dept of Education, if attendance is down the school loses money for each student missing, which means less money to purchase resources for the classroom.  

We really want to emphasize the need for socks, underwear and shoes, Jerome said that shoes are “badly needed. Socks and shoes are especially important as colder, wetter weather approaches, as there’s always the risk for frostbite. Most children don’t have boots or warm socks or even a second pair of shoes to change into when theirs becomes wet. Shoes for younger children can be new or in good, used condition but older children really need new shoes or ones that have been barely worn as shoes mold to the wearers foot if they’ve been worn much. Since few own  a second pair of shoes on the Rez to change into if theirs become wet , a pair of slippers, which can be knit, sewn or crocheted, or a warm pair of socks can be put in their backpack to put on if they get to school with wet feet. Socks and underwear should be purchased new, there are sales going on now at most of the big box stores along with the deals on school supplies. When sending donations throughout the year we encourage you to add a pair of socks or underwear to your box.

In other Wanblee news, we had a member of Sew For Kids visit Jerome and Theresa last month.  Janet, my sidekick that helps with the SFK site, just returned from a trip out West with her spouse and her sister in law and her husband. They stopped in Wanblee on their trip from Indiana to Glacier National Park to drop off items they had for Jerome and Theresa and also took some pictures. They talked to Jerome and Theresa about their community and how we can help them. Janet will share what she learned in a future blog.

Many thanks to all of our volunteers for your continued support of our projects. Every pair of socks, box of crayons or warm sweater you send makes a big difference to a child on the Rez. Everyday items we take for granted are simply not available to most of these children. A new pair of shoes, a nice book bag full of school supplies, a decent outfit of clothing all puts a smile on a child’s face and makes them feel they are special too and that someone cares. Maybe someday we can put a smile on every child’s face going off to their first day of school. Moving cross country has definitely put a damper on the blogging but am hoping things will be returning to a more normal pace and I’ll once again be sharing sewing ideas and pictures.  Until then rev up those machines!!

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