Twenty-five fifth graders at Alton Darby Elementary School led a schoolwide fundraising effort that resulted in a donation of more than $1,400 for My Very Own Blanket.
The students, who were participating in the See Kids Dream project, spent lunch and recess time learning about and practicing philanthropy. See Kids Dream is a non-profit organization that promotes service learning, empowering students to decide how to help others.
After the students identified possible issues (e.g., hunger, foster kids, veterans) in Hilliard and Central Ohio, it was time to get the whole school involved. The students presented information to each grade level about each issue. Then the whole school voted and decided to address the issue of children in foster care.
The students learned about the needs of foster children and researched area organizations that help them. Jessica Rudolph, head of MVOB, and a representative of another organization were invited to school to tell the students more about how they help foster kids. The students were so impressed with both of the women that they decided to give money to help both organizations.
The whole school community brought change to school for one week in late November. The students raised $2,180.73, a school record, and it was divided between the two non-profits.
Jaime Alexander, fifth grade teacher at Alton Darby, told us, “The fifth graders were very touched by Jessica's passion and desire that every child have a blanket of their own. We were very happy to give My Very Own Blanket the donation.”
We are very thankful for the generous donation made by the Alton Darby community and for their choice to help children in foster care.
Generations Performing Arts Center in Westerville holds a large scale blanket-making event for us every year. You can see from the photos above that they were still determined to make the event happen this year, despite COVID-19 and social distancing.
They also had lots of dancers working from home to make blankets on a large scale Zoom call! Great job, Generations staff and students!
A fond memory below is a photo from last year, when all the dancers posed with their finished blankets.
This letter was enclosed in a box that arrived unexpectedly from Australia, sent by a woman who spent time in foster care as a youth in England. We are very grateful to Tracy, both for the quilt she sent and for the message of hope she included for other youth in foster care.
My name is Tracy and I would like to donate this blanket to your charity.
I ordered a beautiful sympathy blanket for my daughter’s birthday, after she lost one of her 3-year-old twins. After several months of waiting (it was being made to order), and just in time for Christmas, it finally arrived. Only when I opened it, it was the wrong blanket. It was this blanket.
Somewhat disappointed, I didn’t see the point of returning it. What with all the hassles, I threw it in a cupboard and forgot about it over the holidays.
I recently started thinking about what I could do with the blanket and thought I would go online and look for a charity, in Ohio USA, that I could donate it to, as it is a specialized subject matter after all, LOL. It is my hope that this blanket can go to an Ohio State football fan.
After a short while of searching, I came across your charity and was immediately drawn. You see, I was in the care system, living in group homes and foster homes throughout my teens, in London UK in the 80’s. I then went on to work with children and young people in the care system myself before moving to Australia with my family in 2009.
I was quite hopeless as a young person in care, but went on to thrive and have an amazing family and life in a very beautiful part of the world.
I am very impressed by the work your charity does as I always kind of laughed at the term “care” system, because I believed no one really did. But organizations like yours that enter young people’s lives and show that someone, somewhere cares enough about them that they sent them a small thing, is not a small thing.
I have come a long way since those dark and depressing days of my youth. I have made it to 50 years old and have beautiful, amazing grandchildren now. I don’t know if messages get to the receivers of the blankets, but I would like to offer this message of hope if possible.
Even in your darkest hour, don’t give up hope that things can be different one day, if you want them to be. It’s all about the choices we make; small steps can still carry you far. It just takes longer. I never could have imagined how good life would get. Hang in there. With the right choices, anything is possible.
Finally, I’d like to thank you guys, the volunteers and workers that make a difference to young lives when they need it most. You are appreciated more than you will ever know.
Many thanks and kindest regards,
Tracy Y, Queensland, Australia
My Very Own Blanket is making handmade masks for youth in foster care and children's service caseworkers -- and for anyone else who needs them.
Our masks are made by former foster youth (meet our mask makers), providing home-based work opportunities, and by MVOB Blanket Angel Volunteers. An assortment of styles, colors and patterns is available for $5 each. Click here for details and to order yours.
MVOB blankets are now carried by some police officers in the Cincinnati area. Carol, our Blanket Angel Coordinator in the area, told us how it happened.
A couple of our blanket angels have talked with local police officers who are sometimes called to homes in the middle of the night for drug abuse and/or family violence and have to remove children from the home. Frequently the children, including babies, have no blankets and/or very little clothing on.
We thought it would be helpful if the officers had blankets to wrap around the children. When a social worker comes to take the child into foster care, the blanket could go with them. When we offered our blankets, we had a very positive response from the police, and we have supplied the Greenhills Police Department with 12 blankets.
This is a wonderful way to put a blanket in the hands of a child at a time of great need. Great job, Cincinnati Blanket Angels!
A network of Blanket Angels connecting Florida, Westerville, Cincinnati and Chicago made it happen.
Members of Meeting Planners International from Ohio and Kentucky made 200 fleece blankets at a recent educational conference in Cincinnati. The project was organized by Peggy, a conference participant who is the Chicago-based Midwest Sales Director for a West Palm Beach, FL tourism company.
Peggy learned about MVOB through an event held in West Palm Beach that included a blanket-making project. The experience inspired her to become an MVOB advocate.
At the Cincinnati event, Peggy hosted an exhibit booth where attendees learned about MVOB and made blankets. To make it happen, she connected with three local Blanket Angels who picked up the fleece in Westerville and delivered it in Cincinnati, collected the finished blankets after the event, and donated them in Cincinnati.
Peggy will take the leftover fleece to an industry event in Chicago where new blanket angels will make blankets that she will donate in Chicago, extending MVOB's mission even farther, to more children in foster care.
As of December 1, 2019, there were 16,388 children in care in Ohio, from newborn babies to youth 18 years old. There were 155,488 participants in open child abuse and neglect cases. The counties with the largest numbers in both categories are Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton.
From Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Data Dashboard, 12/1/19
Even though we are facing disturbing foster care statistics that highlight the urgent need we try to meet, we can lighten our serious work with a little fun with our blanket angels. On Valentine’s Day, we took photos of the angels who happened to deliver blankets – and were willing to wear red, heart-shaped sparkly glasses for a photo!
Because kids in foster care always need to see and feel LOVE as they live through the foster care process, there is always need for more blankets. You can help; it’s fast and easy. Sponsor a no-sew fleece blanket kit for $10, online or in person.
We are blessed to have another partner in our mission to provide love and hope to children in foster care. Stitched Together, a family-run organization serving Central Ohio, was created to meet a need for kids entering the foster care system and give them a little hope during an uncertain time in their life.
Stitched Together wants to provide every kid entering foster care with their own Hope Case and something to call their own.
Hope Cases are backpacks filled with comfort items as well as essential items for children entering the foster care system. Hope cases ease their transition with something to call their own. Each Hope Case is packed with items specific to a certain age group.
Karie Griffin, Stitched Together’s founder, stopped in to meet us recently. We gave her a tour and some bags of blankets to include in the Hope Cases. She and her daughter are shown at left ready to go home with the blankets.
Karie is a foster parent in the process of adopting her foster son.
She told us, “As a foster parent, I witnessed children entering the system arrive with nothing or with minimal items stuffed in a trash bag. These items are often things the social worker or police scooped up off the floor and may or may not belong to the child. Stitched Together provides Hope Cases to children entering the system. Hope Cases are backpacks for all age ranges that contain both comfort items and essential items. These cases enable the child to have something to call their own and a little bit of hope in an uncertain time. We proudly serve the Central Ohio area.”
Email Karie Griffin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jillian Gregory, our new Blanket Angel Coordinator (BAC) in Rising Sun, Indiana, is taking her role seriously!
First, she has organized the members of her quilting group to sew blankets for MVOB. Jillian donates the blankets to three local CASA volunteers (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and Child Service Agencies.
So far, her enthusiastic quilt group has donated more than 45 blankets, and they're still sewing. We were thrilled when Jillian, a CASA volunteer herself, shared with us, "I personally have 7 CASA kiddos and made them blankets. I am so blessed to have found your organization. What a dream come true."
In addition to quilters, Jillian is working with volunteers who want to make blankets but don't sew or knit. "My CASA organization is always getting groups such as cheerleaders, basketball teams and churches wanting to help our foster kids," she said. "No-sew" fleece blankets are perfect for these blanket angels to make. One of these groups is pictured above.
Another arm of Jillian's BAC work takes place at the Madison Women's Prison, where she has begun weekly quilting classes for 15 of the women. Jillian told us, "I'm having so much fun...The woman are working on quilts for MVOB...They are really cranking them out and having a great time...The ladies that are incarcerated are moved when I talk about CASA and all the children in foster care. Most have been in the system themselves and talk about their experiences. The thought of making quilts for other children has been inspirational for them."
There is another group of eight ladies at the prison who are crocheting blankets for MVOB. "Their daily job at the prison is to crochet. They are crocheting blankets for me and it is amazing," Jillian added.
Thanks to Jillian and the other Blanket Angel Coordinators around the U.S., children in foster care far from Central Ohio will be comforted with handmade blankets, each with a special MVOB label attached so that each child can put their name on "their very own blanket."
For information about helping MVOB in YOUR area, check out our Blanket Angel Coordinator webpage
We are celebrating! As we opened the workshop on Friday, December 6, our blanket count was 19,869, SO close to our 20,000 goal.
We were excited to see several blanket angels arrive with donations, and the total started to climb as they pushed the blue blanket counter button.
Closer and closer, until the last donation of 21 blankets brought the total to 20,002! Share the moment below.
Many, many thanks to all of our supporters, all over Ohio and in 16 other states, for your faithful efforts that allowed us to reach this ambitious goal. We are blessed by your support.
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