If someone is cold, they can usually grab a blanket to help warm up. For many people, even those in the Dayton-area, that’s not possible. That was one motivation behind the Senior Capstone group of Lydia Bice, Rylie Meyer, Josie Schlangen and Annie Weckesser to organize a blanket making project.
“I initially became interested in child poverty when learning about the issue in school and then through doing service,” Weckesser said. “Going to school in Dayton and also doing service within the community has made me realize that child poverty is not only a global issue but it has even affected the city where I live. That really opened my eyes to the issue first hand and has made me want to make a change.”
“I became interested in child poverty because for my ISJRP (Integrated Social Justice Research Project),” Meyer reflected. “I completed my service at El Puente with disadvantaged children from immigrant backgrounds. I wrote my paper on my experiences, and the statistics about how child poverty is truly an epidemic around our country stuck with me.”
Group members helped get materials for their project thanks to generous contributions.
“We sponsored an out of uniform day at St. Albert (where Rylie and I went to grade school), reached out to the Dayton Catholic Women's Club, and I started a GoFundMe for our friends and family to donate to the cause,” Schlangen said. “We also put messages in the parish bulletins at St. Albert and St. Peter to raise money and awareness.”
After getting their materials, the Capstone group sponsored an afternoon service project for other CJ students to join the group members in making blankets. Along with making blankets, students were encouraged to write a personal note with each blanket.
“The students were so eager to help, and went above and beyond our expectations of them,” Meyer shared. “It felt so amazing to actually be a part of a project that I know in the end it is going to benefit someone else.”
“Their excitement to be able to make blankets for kids like them that are in poverty right here in Dayton was very rewarding,” Weckesser added.
“This capstone group has been so organized and on top of things from the very beginning,” the Capstone group’s mentor, Angela Ruffolo, noted. “They took this idea and expanded it even further to include some of our local Catholic parishes/grade schools to take part in donations and in helping to put the blankets together. I am continually impressed at the hard work and dedication these young ladies have towards this project of helping children living in poverty. It is quite obvious that they are truly caring people who are passionate about helping others.”
Group members said more than 40 blankets were made during the CJ activity. The seniors went back to St. Albert and St. Peter to make more blankets with those students, for a total of around 80 blankets.
“Overall, this capstone experience has given my friends and me a role of leadership in how we can affect our community, and has made me yet again so proud to be a student at Chaminade Julienne,” Meyer reflected.
The group plans to deliver all the blankets to St. Vincent de Paul on Valentine’s Day.
Posted February 5, 2018