Assignment: Education – Quilts for Kids

Sparta middle school turning service project into powerful lesson

“I’m actually good at this, and I’m not good at things that girls do,” said Tanner Robertson, a Sparta School District seventh-grader in the Embracing Diversity, Generosity and Excellence (EDGE) program.

Robertson was first introduced to sewing by his grandmother.

“I’ve always watched her sew when I was littler,” said Robertson. “I’ve just always liked it and always wanted to try it.”

He now has that opportunity as part of his school day in the EDGE program at Meadowview Middle School in Sparta.

“This is called Quilts for Kids,” said Teresa Lakowske, alternative education teacher in the EDGE program.

The Quilts for Kids program was started this fall.

“We always want to instill with our students that it’s not about what you have, but it’s about what you can give back to your community,” said Lakowske.

Each year, the teachers in the program try to do some sort of community service project with their students.

“We’re trying to show them generosity, outreaching and trying to give back, and to be appreciative for all of those things,” said Lakowske.

The students are also learning proper socialization skills, problem solving skills and how to work in partnership with others.

“It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something because it’s all based on team work,” said Mistical Short, a Sparta School District seventh-grader in the EDGE program.

The group of about 12 sixth through eighth grade students are responsible for the entire quilting process.

“It’s like hand exercise,” said Short. “Once you start you can’t stop.”

This ambition has lead the students to create 25 quilts in about four months. The quilts are donated to the local ambulance service to be given to their peers in emergency situations.

“It just helps them with the rough times they have in the hospital,” said Robertson.

It’s this type of empathy that is sewn into the fabric of this project.

“I think that mainly this is to uphold that value of generosity and giving back to others and what that feels like,” said Lakowske.

If the teachers are able to accomplish this goal with each of their students, they may be able to celebrate a pattern of success.