Community Service Project
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Threads of Hope "New Panel Kit" Program
International AIDS Prevention Initiative ("IAPI") has a special community service project for youth groups, churches, and/or civil organizations wishing to help organizations addressing HIV/AIDS issues outside the US. In an efforts to teach people about HIV/AIDS, an effective way to help break the silence and the stereotypes concerning the disease, is to bring individuals or groups together to make a commemorative AIDS panel. This gives participants a powerful tool to overcome their grief and allows the healing process to begin. As many organizations outside the United States do not have the resources to purchase supplies, IAPI's program asks Americans to donate unused or unwanted fabrics and sewing supplies. This program has been supported by senior citizen organizations, church youth groups, and businesses and requires little financial support.
The Threads of Hope Program process starts by asking those in your congregation, office, or school to donate fabric and/or other sewing/quilt supplies from their closets that they no longer need or want. One youth group did baby-sitting jobs to raise funds for supplies that weren't donated like scissors, Ziplock bags, and glue. Organizations then come together to assemble sewing/quilt supply kits that are used in IAPI panelmaking programs. From these kits, panelmaking workshops are able to complete memorial panels; some of these panels are then loaned to IAPI for its International Quilt Tour. IAPI's purpose in touring with these sections is to: 1) raise greater global HIV/AIDS awareness, and 2) raise funds for participating organizations. The panels are returned at the completion of that year's tour to the country of origin where they become a part of that country's AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Each kit should include (minimum):
• 1 gallon Ziplock bag (or equivalent) for kit supplies
• 1 meter by 2 meter (3ft x 6th) piece of light colored cotton or muslin (for panel)
• Remnants or small pieces of fabric to cut letters (felt is best)
• Water based colored markers or fabric pens or fabric paint and brushes
Additional suggested supplies:
• Pair of scissors
• Sewing kit (from hotels), needles and thread
• Notions: beads, ric-rack, buttons, lace, bias, yarn, etc.
• Small bottle of fabric glue
• Printed fabric with images (flowers, boats, animals, toys)
Each kit, when completed, should have enough supplies to make a 3ft x 6ft memorial panel.
Some panels created through IAPI's Threads of Hope "New Panel Kit" Program are borrowed for the International Quilt Tour. Panels tour to raise funds for participating organizations, and allow those who donated supplies to see how supplies have been put to good use. Completed panels are one of the our most powerful tools to bring greater global awareness to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and show Americans how they can assist those in need.
Some organizations, after seeing the completed panels want to do more. Some make this service project an annual or semi-annual event, while other organizations go to the next level. This can take the form of raising funds to send their own volunteers, church members, or staff to the organization they are "sistering" (mentoring) offering assistance with panelmaking workshops and teaching sewing skills, sharing HIV/AIDS ministries, peer-to-peer education programs, and sharing technical information or financial assistance. An introductory letter can be placed in each kit, and recipients are encouraged to begin the process by writing back about their experience, thus the sharing begins.
Sistering Programs are an incredible way to bring volunteers or congregations together to help others in need. These programs touch school children and young adults who don't think AIDS can happen to them. Once they begin to communicate with children overseas who have lost family members, teachers, or friends, a "teachable moment"is created and prevention programs take on a new meaning.
Our thanks to the following organizations who have participated in this program:
• AIDS Quilt Rhode Island, Newport, RI
• Chimney Sweep, New York, NY
• Inland AIDS Project (former NAMES Project Riverside, CA)
• NAMES Project Ft. Worth, TX (former)
• Pacific Pride Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA
• Rhode Island Unitarian Church, Newport, RI
• Utah African-American Faith Initiative, Salt Lake City, UT
For more information, please contact us here.