Seventh-graders meet community need

NEIGHBORS

Warmth: Harper's Choice Middle School pupils sew and deliver quilts regularly to the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit at Howard County General Hospital.

January 16, 2002|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

EVERY NINE weeks during the school year, pupils in Peg Dear's seventh-grade home economics class at Harper's Choice Middle School make a delivery to Howard County General Hospital. Each quarter, they donate about 25 quilts they have made in class to infants in the hospital's Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

"The parents love having these quilts for the babies," said Debbie Fleischmann, nurse manager for the unit. "The staff likes them because it helps us create a more homey atmosphere in the unit, to balance some of the impersonal sorts of things that they see."

Fleischmann said the quilts are used to cover the tops of incubators, blocking the bright fluorescent lights. Then, "as [the infants] get bigger and graduate to a crib, we use them as a blanket," she said.

Each quilt is unique. Dear said that the schoolchildren select the fabric squares for their designs and construct the quilts on a sewing machine. Fabric is donated by members of the community, and some youths contribute money to purchase the batting and backing.

Twelve-year-old Kieren Reilly alternated fabric squares in a black-and-white Dalmatian print with burgundy and tan squares to create his quilt's design. He said he enjoyed participating in the venture. "It's an important project because we do this for community service and it helps the babies by keeping them warm," he said.

Fleischmann said the project helps schoolchildren make a connection with the hospital and shows youngsters a practical way they can help in the community. She also uses the pupils' visit as an opportunity to educate them about the risks of premature birth. The middle-schoolers see the babies in the NICU when they bring their quilts.

Seventh-grade pupil Olivia Bobrowsky was excited about visiting the infants. She said she learned a lot about sewing while making her quilt.

When babies are healthy enough to leave the hospital, the quilts go home with them. Dear said she has received numerous thank-you notes and photos of the babies who received the pupils' handiwork.

"The students are very surprised at how tiny the babies can be. Especially after seeing the babies, the students tell me how good they feel that they have done something to help these babies as they grow and get better," Dear said.

Pops at Atholton

The Atholton High School music department will present its Pops Concert 2002 at 6 p.m. Saturday. Solo and ensemble groups will perform during dinner in the cafeteria.

At 7:30 p.m., the entertainment moves to the school's gymnasium, where the orchestra, chorus, jazz ensemble and the combined concert band and symphonic wind ensemble will perform.

Tickets for dinner and the show are $15 a person, and reservations are required. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $5 each and will be available at the door.

Information: 410-730-3962.

Faculty show

The art department faculty of Howard Community College will have its work showcased until Feb. 3 in the college gallery. The exhibit includes drawings, paintings, digital images, photography and three-dimensional pieces.

The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Information: 410-772-4512, or visit the gallery online at www.howardcc.edu.

Clutter clinic

January is a good time to reorganize your life. The Wilde Lake Community Association will sponsor a Clutter Clinic from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 22 at Slayton House.

Presented by the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service of Howard County, the class costs $5 a person. Registration is required.

Information or registration: 410-730-3987.

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