This is my daughter Blue. She is seven and a half.
One day we saw an ad in a magazine for Smile Train, which is a program that repairs cleft lips and palates for children in developing countries who could otherwise not afford the surgery. Blue was horrified by the pictures. To show her how Smile Train helps kids, we went to their website and looked at before and after pictures. We found out it only costs $250 to provide surgery for one child, and her question for me was "Do we have $250 to send them?" I told her that we did have $250, but that it was more money than I could just send off on a moments notice. So we brainstormed ways we could get $250 to send, and came up with a plan.
Blue is making a quilt. She is cutting it by herself,
ironing it by herself
and sewing it by herself.
And yes, I do stand there hovering over her practically jumping out of my skin. But she is 7 1/2, after all. See that evil glint in her eye? That is her reveling in the fact that it is taking all my willpower to let her do her thing while I am forced to stand and watch.
Just how does making a quilt get us money for Smile Train? We thought we would raffle it, but we found out that it is illegal. Yup. Because we aren't a non profit agency, we can't have a raffle without jumping through lots of hoops. So we decided that what we would do is find people to sponsor the quilt squares. We asked a few friends and grandparents and such if they would give her $10 to make a square to add to the quilt. Several of them did, and she got to work.
The squares are sponsored but she makes all the design choices. Mama chose the type of square, because there is no real way to goof it up crosses and it gives her a lot more control over the process. Believe me, crosses are hard enough. What a sewist can churn out in 5 minutes, it takes Blue about an hour to create.
I am amazed at the patience she has for this project, and the pure enthusiasm. She plans to send the $250 and the finished quilt together, so the child who has the surgery can have the quilt to snuggle, too. Tonight she told me "I think the child will really like this rainbow one. They won't mind if it's not perfect." I am amazed that she is thinking of the child at every step of the process. While I encouraged the genesis of this project, she has really made it her own. My selfish goal for her was to know that she can change the world. She can make a difference in people's lives, even as a child. She has power that she can channel to good or to evil, and it feels wonderful to choose good. But I think she has already learned a lot more than that.
If you would like to sponsor a quilt square, please e-mail me at wisecricket (at) gmail (dot) com and I will give you our address. We will also e-mail you a picture of your finished square if you like. And know that you will have helped not only a child far away, but also my daughter, Blue, of whom I am so incredibly proud.