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April 24, 2010 – Katy, Texas – The first grade team at Exley Elementary thought it would be a great idea to incorporate community service into our curriculum.  The project began on Monday, February 1st. Teachers began  explaining to students that February is the month of love. It is a time for individuals to show love and kindness towards others. We then utilized the time to inform students about the issues of homelessness.  Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting was read to students. The misconceptions

Exley Elementary student creates his square for the quilt

associated with homelessness were discussed and the hardships homeless individuals face were identified. One specific hardship included harsh weather and temperatures during the winter months. Students brainstormed ways in which they could show love and kindness towards the homeless. Students were then informed that they were going to make their very own classroom quilts.

 It was through much collaboration with employees at Quilt N’ Sew in Katy, Texas, that we came to formulate a plan for creating the quilts. Quilt squares and fabric markers were provided for each student in first grade. Students then decorated their square with a motivational message or illustration. Squares were then collected and combined with additional quilt pieces. We contacted the president of the West Houston Quilt Guild to inquire about their participation in this project. Their charity bee agreed to donate their time. They also provided all sashing needed to complete the quilt tops. They sewed the quilt squares and sashing together to compete all nine quilt tops.

Once the tops were completed, we met with the president of the quilt guild and together we determined the best way to complete the quilts. Employees at Quilt N’ Sew graciously donated the remaining materials needed. We immediately began looking for first grade parents who were willing to volunteer to help. Four volunteers expressed interest. We met with them one afternoon and explained to them the directions for completing the quilts. Parent volunteers then took their quilt top, batting, and backing and sewed them together to make a twin size quilt.

All nine quilts were finally finished last week. We are currently in contact with the Star of Hope homeless shelter in Houston. We are trying to coordinate a time in which a representative from the Star of Hope can come to the school so quilts can be presented and donated by the students.

Students have taken much pride in their accomplishments and are excited to be doing such a wonderful act of kindness.  Please mention you found this on www.KatyMagazine.com.

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