By Erika Mathieu
Westwind Weekly News
Magrath High School’s home economics program has successfully partnered with the Stitch it Forward Society of Lethbridge to present the not-for-profit organization with needed textiles to be distributed amongst various charities. The Stitch it Forward Society focuses on sewing, knitting, and crocheting projects to create items that will benefit individuals and organizations in need.
Jeanine Passey teaches Home Economics at Magrath Jr. high and under her direction, her students have spent time during the year contributing their sewing skills to a greater cause. Four large quilts, 10 baby quilts, and other assorted items were handed off to Diane Herrick, from the Stitch it Forward Society at Magrath High School on Friday, March 25. The items will be donated to the hospital and shelter to provide warmth to people experiencing homelessness in the Lethbridge shelter. The school’s vice principal DonnaJean Wilde said the collaboration has been, “a great opportunity for the students to give back to the community.”
Passey explained she first heard about the organization through justserve.org which, “highlights a number of different service opportunities in the area,” and after learning more about the Stitch it Forward Society, felt it would be a good fit for the skills and interests of her students.
“As our new semester started I have another half a dozen kids who are doing individual quilts as their project for this term and we are also working on class quilts that are in various stages of completion. When they start to see the quilt come together their interest accelerates,” she explained.
In addition to learning and practicing their sewing skills, students are able to acquire volunteer hours and give back to their communities. While giving back is the primary objective of the partnership, students are also able to highlight their volunteer contributions when applying for scholarships, or other academic pursuits. The volunteer-based community project also allows students to meet and work alongside new people.
It is the first year the Home Ec. program has partnered with the Stitch it Forward Society. Last spring, Passey reached out to Diane Herrick to discuss the program. “She generously donated all kinds of fabric and batting for the quilts from the donations that she has collected. In the fall, I pitched the idea to my students and they were for the most part on board,” she explained.
Passey explained her goal was to have one group in each class make a quilt, in addition to allowing her grade nine students to pursue a quilting project on their own. “I showed them the fabrics that were available and allowed them to choose the fabric that we would use for our class quilt.” Some students also opted to construct scarecrow dolls for children.
The Stitch it Forward society works with several charity groups to help people in the community with various needs. “Some (charities) that I’m aware of are the animal shelters where we could have made dog beds or dog toys but we didn’t get to that.” In the future, Passey plans on continuing to work with students, looking for projects with a difficulty level suitable for her students.