As a local chapter coordinator for Project Linus we have just completed a large classroom community service quilt project which encompassed three non-profit organizations, 425 seventh graders and over 50 volunteers. Whew! Project Linus is a charity with a two fold mission: to provide homemade comfort blankets to children in traumatic situations and to facilitate community service projects. Project Linus Oakland donates knit, crochet, sewn, quilted and no sew fleece blankets to children throughout our metropolitan area at medical facilities, hospice, shelters, children of military families or any child in need.
In mid April the classroom quilt project was publicly presented. The classroom quilts will be donated to Project Linus children in our metro area as comfort quilts for children facing challenges and traumatic situations where it is hoped a homemade quilt will bring a little comfort and smile.
This project began in Fall 2015 with volunteers prepping the quilt squares and materials. The cotton quilt squares are then ready for children or adults to draw on the squares with fabric markers. The squares then travel to adult quilters who sew the squares into a block quilt aka as a classroom quilt. It’s a wonderful community service project for kids or adults. One does not need to be able to free hand draw, you can provide stencils or pre sketch an outline or let the artistically inclined who prefer to draw go ahead and create. A classroom quilt can be a hodge podge of ideas or a theme can be chosen by either the teacher or collectively by the group of artists.
Project Linus Oakland Community Service Project
The 12 quilts created for this community service project was in partnership with Project Linus Oakland, the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metro Detroit and Song and Spirit Institute of Peace. The three non-profits partnered to provide the quilt project as the community service project for the Religious Diversity Journey program by the Council; 425 seventh graders from two counties participate in the program each year to promote understanding, acceptance and diversity in our metropolitan area.How fun it was to see the kids identify the square they drew on the finished quilt! Each quilt had a theme which was predetermined by the group. There were 35 or 40 squares per quilt; each quilt included two groups of children from the RDJ program.
Classroom Quilt Ideas
For this project Project Linus Oakland (national organization Project Linus aka Linus Project) helped produce, organize and quilt 12 “classroom” quilts. Classroom quilts are a variation of an art block or block quilt.
I can relay from personal experience that a novice quilter can definitely sew this type of quilt. I wouldn’t compare my skills to a true quilter, but it can be done. I know I gained a few gray hairs in the process but that was more attributable to the learning curve of any new craft or art. Six art block quilts later and a few less gray hairs – promise – you can do it!
If you are interested in how to make a classroom quilt, visit my tutorial on How To Make A Classroom Quilt for the instructions and materials necessary to begin and complete a classroom quilt project.
The classroom quilt provides volunteer opportunities for kids, parents, sewers and quilters while providing an excellent way to pay it forward as a Linus Blanket project or for any charity in your area who donates quilts to medical facilities, shelters or children in need.
Community Service Projects For Kids
Last year I was introduced to the wonderful world of plarn. Plarn is yarn made from plastic bags. It is a wonderful way to reuse, recycle and upcycle your stash of plastic bags. (Who doesn’t open a cupboard and is greeted by a bundle of unwieldy and wandering grocery store plastic bags…?)
This is one of the best community service ideas I have encountered for a variety of reasons. I wrote an article Turning Plastic Bags Into Sleep Mats For Homeless as a unique way to involve your kids in a community service project, recycle plastic bags and provide sleep mats for homeless individuals in your area.
The plarn is lightweight, water resistant, portable and provides a layer of protection between the ground and an individual. The mat needs to be light enough for an individual to transport without a lot of effort, but durable enough to provide protection. It is amazing how plastic bags knit or crochet into quite a durable mat.
Even young children can be involved with this community service project as hundreds of plastic bags are needed to knit or crochet one mat. The mats measure approximately 3′ by 6′ and can take up to 700 plastic bags per mat. This is a perfect opportunity for the neighborhood, church, community service group to hold a Plastic Bag Drive; even younger kids can help collecting the bags, sorting the bags as step one of community service project.
Quilt It! Knit It! Sew It! Crochet It! There are many charities across the nation which could use your talent and skills to make homemade comfort items. Volunteer Match matches organizations and talents by zip code if you are seeking a volunteer opportunity.
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