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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dress A Girl Around the World & Save a Life

At a local weekend arts festival a few weeks ago I came across this non-profit organization called Angels of Mercy; . They have a mission with a couple of different goals/projects and one of them is called Dress A Girl Around the World.  Once a month women from all over the city get together at a local church, bring their sewing machines and supplies and create dresses from pillowcases. They also create little dolls that go in the pocket of each dress.  These dresses are then sent all over the world to third world countries and distributed to little girls who need clothing.  If these girls are clothed nicely, they are viewed as having caring families and are less likely to be targeted for sex trafficking. An important part of the dress is the label that is placed on each one.  The label on the dress gives predators the message that these girls are under the care of an organization.

Often times there are over 90 women that get together once a month to create dresses and dolls. Dress A Girl programs can be found in other states and can be created any where. Together this project has dressed more than 105,000 girls. Our chapter has created over 31,000 of those dresses since they began the program two years ago.  I was asked to take part and began my volunteering this past Tuesday.  It was an amazing experience. Volunteers spend between 3-8pm that day creating and are served dinner.  My goal was to make dolls since I was familiar with how to do this. (As an art therapist we create these dolls with clients and they are called worry or wish dolls because in the head you write a wish or your worries on paper and crumple it up to make the head).  I made 3 complete dolls from start to finish and then they had an entire bin of dolls that needed outfits made for them so I preceded to create dresses for about 50 dolls.

Often times individuals continue to create dresses and dolls on their own and bring them to the monthly meeting.  It was pretty much all women but all different ages from teenagers to elderly ladies and different ethnicities (you could hear many languages being spoken- it was awesome).  It felt wonderful to be a part of this amazing project.  One of the things I'm now working on is getting a large group of students together at the college I work at (through are community service department) and get them to create dolls that we can deliver to the organization. I hope to be able to accomplish this by the end of October. I'll keep you posted.  For now below are pictures from Septembers get together.

A finished dress with doll in pocket.

A couple of women at my table. On the left the woman has been making dolls since the project began 2 years ago.

This is only a view of half of the room where we worked.

Dresses made out of pillowcases.  The longer off white dress was made from a curtain!

One of the dolls I made from scratch using just a piece of fabric, yarn and then fabric for the clothes.

Another finished doll I made.

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