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Quilting: The timeless art of weaving Community Connections

During the past few months, students from Kindergarten to Grade 7 at Fortune Bay Academy, St. Bernard’s-Jacques Fontaine, participated in a quilting initiative.

YOUNG QUILTERS – The Grade 7 students at Fortune Bay Academy produced a lap quilt during the recent school year, based on Newfoundland culture, to be donated to the Janeway Children’s Hospital in St. John’s. It will be given to a courageous child. Story and photo on Page A9. Photo Submitted

The students from K-6 designed unique handcrafted fabric squares to represent their understanding of peace, with inspiration from Anna Grossnickle Hines’ book ‘Peaceful Pieces’.

The Grade 7 students designed their quilt to celebrate Newfoundland culture, as an extension of the language arts curriculum relating to the homegrown component. The class quilt is a mosaic of Newfoundland images that illustrates fishing culture, wildlife and so much more.

In essence, the Peaceful Pieces initiative promotes an inclusive, safe, and caring school environment for all students.

Every student from K-7 participated in a quilting circle, in order to raise awareness of the value of respecting diversity. The ultimate goal of this initiative is mental health promotion, which involves encouraging positive interactions between teachers, students and community members.

The project partners were united in a spirit of collaboration and collective action, including The Fortune Bay Academy School Council and Student Council, community volunteers and The Thimble Box representatives Sherri Dodge and Barb Smith.

In order to make this initiative successful, the school received the Eastern Regional Wellness Coalition Community Grant and funding through the provincial Safe and Caring Schools Special Project Fund.

Through the timeless art of quilting, the K-7 students learned new life skills from experienced quilters, which provided a renewed sense of pride within the school. This initiative made the students feel empowered and proud to contribute to a new creative arts project that will make a difference in the lives of Newfoundland children.

In the words of Ms. Dodge, an exceptionally talented woman entrepreneur who considers herself to be a ‘fabric therapist’, this project is “a way of giving back to the community (because it) brings everyone together … Kids are a big part of the community.”

The two quilts will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in St. John’s.

The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home for children receiving medical care in St. John’s. The house is a supportive place where families develop friendship networks and gain strength through their shared experiences.

The elaborate K-6 quilt, consisting of 50 original fabric squares, will be used to raise money for the daily operations of the Ronald McDonald House, while the lap quilt will be given directly to a courageous child in the Janeway Hospital.

In particular, the lap quilt will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House’s Comfort Quilt Program. Every child who stays in the Ronald McDonald House will have an opportunity to choose one special quilt from a collection of beautiful handmade quilts – a cherished gift symbolizing comfort and community support.

Written by Ms. Tiffany Hawco & English 3201 Class, Fortune Bay Academy

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