Today marks the One Year Anniversary since we officially organized ourselves as a Utah Valley Days for Girls Chapter! I’ve been thinking all week about all the miracles that have surrounded this work since I first learned of it in March of 2013. I was invited to speak to a group of women about life in Africa. Having lived there 4 years, I was excited to talk about the joys and the challenges of living in an area that was very dear to my heart. After showing some slides and talking about things I loved, I was shown the humanitarian project these women had spent several weeks working on: Days for Girls kits. What I saw that evening changed my life. I immediately sent out an email to all of my friends and contacts offering to come and speak about the needs of women in third world areas, and donate $50 to any group willing to host an event to help make these hygiene kits. Over the summer, I started helping my friends get involved. Many of you are among those first helpers. Then a year ago my own neighborhood got involved and we decided to create a Days for Girls Chapter in Utah Valley. A small handful of us gathered and organized ourselves. Last year during Thanksgiving week, I traveled with a group of eye doctors to Mali with our very first Utah Valley kits. We took them to one school in Ouelessebougou, Mali and there were not enough for all the girls in the classes there. I promised them I’d return with more. In February 2014 we took 1700 more kits to Ouelessebougou.
By now, we were actively spreading the word and asking for your help. Since January of this year, we have had about 180 Days for Girls Events here in our Utah areas. I’m sure there have been more we don’t even know about, as you have helped us pass the word along to family members and friends here and out of state.
In our first year, we have helped with 18 girls camps last summer, we’ve worked in Senior Citizen Centers, Schools, Churches, Civic Centers, Rotary Clubs, Quilt Groups, Book Clubs, Homeless Shelters, Indian Reservations, and have helped with Eagle Scout Projects. We’ve engaged way more than 10,000 men, women, and girls of all ages. We started out with $125 in our bank account, and prayed for donations. They have come to us, enabling us to buy 1000s of yards of fabric. So many of you have generously given bags of underwear, washcloths, hotel soaps and Ziploc bags. Your hands have traced, cut, ironed, sewn and assembled more than 8000 kits that we’ve sent from here to more than 20 different countries! Our Utah Valley Chapter has become a huge Force for Good in the world, thanks to each of you and your contributions.
I lie in bed each night and wonder how different things would be if each of us had done nothing, or if we would stop helping. I feel a huge amount of gratitude, as we approach this Thanksgiving week, that we are in a position to help others. I feel great joy as I interact with outstanding women and men like you. I feel like you are the cream of the crop–the mindful, the kind, and the generous–who come to help.
We are moving into the next level of service now. We need to be able to duplicate our efforts to involve more who are looking for opportunities to serve. We need independent teams and more chapters in Utah and beyond. There are so many girls who need our help, and countries who need our support setting up their own sewing centers.
It has been thrilling to see many of you organize your families and friends and your organizations to help. We have strong groups going in dozens of areas now, who are working independently, holding on-going events. This is not the kind of project that you do once, then check off your list of things to do. I think most of you continue to feel the need to help because there are girls who are still waiting for us. We must help them.
One of the beauties of this project is that there are so many facets to it. Some of you have groups who focus on making liners or pads. Some of you have focused on gathering the donated items. Some of you have done a good deal of sewing. We have tracing specialists and 100s of women who cut out pieces. We have bag ladies! We have scrap salvagers. We have young women doing their 10-hour service projects ironing and stitching pockets, or tracing and cutting fabric. Some of you come faithfully to our monthly events. Others of you have helped spread the word to involve other wards or groups of women. Every bit is important and needful.
Without your individual help, we could not do what needs to be done. Now that so many of you have helped with events, it’s time to start thinking about what to do next. Can you organize yourselves and find ways to continue helping? Many of you are starting to meet monthly or quarterly to work on parts of the kits. Finishing completed kits is not the focus–we all do what we feel comfortable doing, and with everyone’s help, all the parts and pieces are produced and assembled.
We need new teams and which can grow into Chapters. The functions of a Team are simple and include:
Collecting and sewing kit components
Instructing others in sewing kits
Sponsoring Sew Nights
Working with chapters and DfGI to fill large kit requests
Distributing kits through locally sponsored charity expeditions
Fielding local DfG inquiries
Directing interested individuals to DfG opportunities
Furthering the mission of DfGI in your own way
Finding new ways to further the DfG Mission
Please think about how you can help us to duplicate our efforts, as your Chapter Leaders. When you look at the schedule below, you will see that we really need your help. Here are the events we’ve had this month and will have through the end of the year:
1 Nov PUL delivered to CA for Stake Event ElMonte, Carol Jex
4 Nov Cedar Hills, Charmaine Christensen
4 Nov Bountiful 9:00-12:00, 302 Bogey Circle, Heather Maxwell
4 Nov Pleasant Grove Mt. Mahogany 6th Ward, Alicia Jenkins…
5 Nov Bountiful 580 E. Center St., Heather Maxwell
7 Nov Girls School (Spanish Fork or Saratoga Springs) Larissa
9 Nov Mapleton Ward RS Lesson (Ann), Debra Ward
10 Nov Orem YSA Ward FHE, Whitney Ellis
11 Nov Salem, Ann Shumway
12 Nov West Jordan Senior Citizen’s Center 1-4:00, Kim Wu
12 Nov Centerville, 160 So. 300 E., heather Maxwell
12 Nov Cottonwood Heights Brighton 4th, 5th Wards, Lisa Adams
12 Nov Cottonwood Heights Brighton 8th Ward, Sheri Caldwell
12 Nov Sandy, Betsy Chamberlain
13 Nov Provo YW group assembling kits (Mozambique),
13 Nov West Valley City YSA, Catie Christ
14 Nov 670 Kits to the Dominican Republic, LIFTaLIFE, IASK Org.
14 Nov 50 Kits to Mozambique Kim Snelson
14 Nov 50 Kits to Jamaica Nicole Larsen
14 Nov 15 Kits to Nicaragua Abby Bradshaw
14 Nov Girls School, (Spanish Fork or Saratoga Springs) Larissa
Nov Orem Northridge YW Activity, Gloribel Harris
15 Nov Pleasant Grove Mt. Mahogany, Wendi O’Keefe
18 Nov Lindon 23rd Ward Kristin Timms
18 Nov Saratoga Springs Lakeside Ward YW, Caren Winters
19 Nov Mapleton Hobble Creek Stake YW assemble 300 kits
20 Nov THIRD THURSDAY (no evening event)
Mapleton Ward coming, Lisa Eisenstat group coming
20 Nov Orem 6th Ward on 900 East, Heather Frazier
22 Nov Utah Valley 1 Year Anniversary!
Nov Daybreak Stake working to Assemble, Shirleen Saunders
3 Dec Midway, Memorial Hill Ward, Lisa Remund
4 Dec Millcreek Senior Citizen Center (1:00-4:00)Becky Cushing
6 Dec Cedar Hills RS, Liz Fotheringham
7 Dec West Valley City Ward RS Sunday lesson Joanne Duncan
9 Dec Orem Service Group, Cathy Haroldsen
9 Dec Orem Service Group Cathy Haroldsen
125 Kits to Honduras Andrea Beard
20 Dec Orem Family Party 20 kit assembly Pam Taylor
8 Jan Pleasant Grove Manila 7th Ward, Julie Shoaee
14 Jan Cottonwood Heights 4th Ward, Joan Gregory
14 Jan Herriman, Chrissy Probst
15 Jan THIRD THURSDAY 9-12:00, 6-8:00
19 Jan Heritage School all day event Assembly, Tami Harris
22 Jan UVU YSA 2nd Stake, Ann Kilpack
24 Jan Mapleton Stake RS Women’s Conference, Lynnae Allred
28 Jan Provo Edgemont 7th, Roslyn Wilson
31 Jan Kaysville City Event Kaysville Rotary, Julie Treadwell, Heather Maxwell
7 Feb Bountiful Stake Super Saturday, Peggy Showalter
10 Feb River Ridge 2nd South Jordan, Karen Bybee
19 Feb Rose Park ?
27 Feb Santaquin Stake Super Friday
11 Mar Draper Corner Canyon,Danene Torgerson
14 Mar North Orem Super Saturday, Jacquie Nelson
28 Mar Hillcrest Stake Super Saturday, Candy Terry
16 Apr THIRD THURSDAY
News from the field:
Returned home from Ethiopia. The DfG kits were a huge success in the village I went to. I only wish I had hundreds more. I will send pics as soon as I am free of some jet lag. Thank you so very much for the opportunity to share this with the girls. I am planning on returning in February and then again in June for an expedition. I have my ward working on some for June. I am heading up a latrine project out in the rural villages where we work and I think this will dovetail perfectly with hygiene and feminine hygiene. Thank you once again for your efforts and making such a difference in the youth of Ethiopia, as well as around the globe.
Director Of Operations – East Africa
Engage Now Africa
Ann–here we are assembling the kits to send to our friend, Kim Snelson. Such darling girls and so excited to be able to do something for others. Thanks for introducing me to this magical project! ! Hugs, Marsha
Megan Clark and her girls, Drew, Morgan and Stella, along with Nicole Curtis came over tonight and packed 50 kits for the girls in Mozambique! They were super excited when they learned the details of the project and were so glad to be able to send a little love to the girls in Africa. (See photos of them working together on Facebook).
We would love to take two duffel bags of kids over to Tanzania when we go in January. We’re drilling wells and a lot of little communities there, that this would be so so beneficial to the girls there!
These villages are about three hours outside of Arusha and many of the children there have never left the village! So it would be a fabulous introduction there!
Because of the clean water there now in Magugu, the school had to build another wing because the students are not sick and missing school!
Also, because the girls don’t have to miss school by fetching water, they just carry it home from the school, and girls are now getting their education too!
Miracles miracles! I just can’t wait to get back there and make a delivery for days for girls if you have kits to go!
Hearts and Hands for Humanity
Andrea Beard from the Sunset Heights Stake and her Relief Society have made and assembled 125 kits for the girls in Honduras. Andrea’s daughter returns from her mission there on Thanksgiving Day. Their family will return in December to deliver kits to the towns and villages where she served.
If any of you are aware of people traveling who might be able to help get kits to the girls, please let us know. If we make them, they will come. (But we need to know who they are!)
We have been asked to discontinue making hand knit or crocheted washcloths for the kits. The girls in the field prefer the store-bought ones, and they are easier to keep clean and sanitary. Wal-Mart is still the best place to buy them at 18 for $4.00.
Dyeing white underwear and washcloths is now optional, but we encourage you to continue to dye the white panties and washcloths. The girls prefer stain-hiding colors. We’d like to avoid sending white whenever possible.
Please pack the underwear separate from the kits. This makes it easier for us to organize and store finished kits. Please put the underwear in ziploc bags, sorted by size, with 20-25 per bag. Label the bags with the size and how many are in the bag. When we distribute, it’s easier to get the right size panty to each girl. Thank you.
Please let me know if you are receiving duplicates of these emails. We have more than 1000 of you in our email group and the group must be divided into groups of 100 so that they can be sent out without being tagged as spam. It’s hard to find duplicates. Thank you.
If you know of anyone who would like to be included in this mailing, please send requests to email@example.com
If you or anyone you know is interested in helping to host an event, please contact one of us. We are here to help. You will find information about preparing to host and event in the attachments above.
If any of you know of anyone who has an old pre-digital/plastic sewing machine or an old treadle machine not being used, please know that these machines could change the life of a women in a village. Please contact Phyllis Drake at firstname.lastname@example.org .
See http://www.sewmuchhope.org/ to learn more about how you can help.
We continue to accept donations of 100% cotton fabric and flannel in stain-hiding colors, washcloths, gallon-sized Freezer quality Ziploc bags, hotel soap, and girls underwear in sizes 10, 12, and 14.
You can contact any of our Chapter Leaders to drop things off.
Financial donations are tax deductible and can be mailed to:
Days for Girls
24 West 500 South
Orem UT 85058
Thanks to each of you for your continuing interest and help. It’s thrilling to know you and to work beside you.
Thank you for a FABULOUS first year of service. Here’s to many more!
Our Utah Valley DfG Team:
Ann Lewis Orem email@example.com 801 376-3417
Lorri Cummings Pleasant Grove firstname.lastname@example.org 801 785-0250
Diana Allred Orem email@example.com 801 592-8399
Melissa Clark Springville firstname.lastname@example.org 801 372-8660
Melissa Phillippi Pleasant Grove email@example.com 801 602-4796
Days for Girls Utah Valley Chapter on Facebook:
Days for Girls International: http://www.daysforgirls.org/
Below you’ll find a handful out of the 100s of photos I’ve taken this last week of amazing volunteers and helpers. To see more, take a look at the photo albums on our DfG Facebook pages.