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Serendipity leads to new Regional Coordinator!

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  The connections made while managing the Wrap-A-Smile project continue to amaze me. A few weeks ago I was asked to speak about WAS at a quilters' retreat in Kennebunk, Maine.  Since we are all limiting our social engagements during these COVID times, I hesitated.....but knew my host well and understood that I would be speaking at a distance, to a very small group, in a very large room.  So I trusted my instincts and  accepted  the invitation.  And I'm so glad I did!  At the end of my talk, up walked Paige Curtis - and, drumroll here! - WAS has a new Regional Coordinator! Please meet Paige, in her own words: Hello Wrap-A-Smile friends, I am Paige Curtis, a quilter, a mom, a teacher, and a fan of wild colors and reaching out to help others.  My family and I recently moved to southern New Hampshire and while at a quilt camp I was introduced to Ann and Wrap-A-Smile. I started making quilts back in the 90's. I didn't really know what I was doing but created some treasures,

Wrap-A-Smile takes a Pause

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I have postponed writing this post, and I do it now with a heavy heart.   Last spring Rotary-related medical teams which provide free corrective surgeries for children born with cleft lip and cleft palate anomalies, sadly suspended all of their international trips due to COVID-19 concerns. Unfortunately there is now a large backlog of children awaiting treatment, but plans are in place to resume missions just as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. In the meantime, innovative new programs of virtual trainings for local health providers have been created.  Helping to train clinicians in the host countries has always been a part of the medical missions and technology is now helping to facilitate that. The good news in this story is that thanks to the generosity of quilters from all over the country there is now a generous inventory of children’s quilts safely stored, awaiting the days when they can be put to work comforting patients.  Wrap-A-Smile extends its heartfelt thanks to ALL the

I Spy Fun, and more...

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Quilts with pictures are a great way to communicate.  While there is always a local interpreter on hand with every surgical mission, not every patient interaction can be aided by translation.  One of the many roles of the non-medical team members is entertaining and comforting patients, both before and after their surgeries. Often the communication is through smiles, hugs, gestures, sound effects..... anything that can convey interest and compassion.   Pointing to a picture of an animal on a quilt, accompanied by a raised eyebrow, can be enough to encourage a child to name the animal in their own language.  Then the sound effects start, followed by the laughter.  Having been on a Rotaplast mission, I can attest to the smiles and laughter that lighten the very long workdays. For you non-quilters, the term "I spy quilt" refers to a quilt that is full of pictures.  My friend Cheryl from Hollis Center, Maine, brought this quilt full of wonky off-center pictures to me last week.  

Triple the fun!

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 I know I have written previously about how much I enjoy going to the dentist.  (OK, disclaimer, it's my former office with the same terrific staff of "forever friends".)  It's always wonderful, but nostalgic, to see this group of true professionals who work hard every day to serve their patients.  Anyhow, not only did I enjoy careful and safe care last week, in these COVID times, but I left with a bag full of quilts! Former dental assistant Sandy made this fun pink beauty with the appliqu├ęd elephants, and her triplet sisters Diane and Fran made the others.  All 3 sisters obviously have great attention to detail.  Note the tiny little cornerstones in some of the quilts!!   Thank you, Sandy Thank you, Fran Thanks to Diane, including the 1/2" (!) roses Another from Diane Diane's own pattern And lastly, thank you again, Fran (with more tiny cornerstones!) It must be so much fun to have sewing sisters.  I remember a summer of sewing with my mother and grandmothe

The T-Quilt Project

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"A celebration of friendship, generosity, commitment and international goodwill." Last spring, several of us started talking about Wrap-A-Smile approaching its 20-year anniversary. As hundreds of quilters have now sent nearly 27,000 quilts to children around the world, there was no doubt that we had to mark this milestone.   Quilters of the Sunshine Online Quilt Guild suggested the making of T-quilts, in recognition of Terry's original inspiration.  The idea quickly morphed into "let's make 100 T-quilts", enough for every patient treated during a Rotaplast mission.  It seemed a bold idea, just as the original plans for WAS were. But what is a T-quilt you ask?!  It is any quilt that incorporates the letter T in the design.  Some are bold and sassy (as was Terry), some more subtle, incorporated into intricate designs.  Sadly, Terry's health failed during the time of this project, but as quilts arrived here in Maine I would photograph them and send the p

A riot of color

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Picking up quilts for Wrap-A-Smile is a happy excuse to venture out and break up the routine of our stay-at-home days.  Last week I was in Unity, Maine, where friend Polly (see blog post of Nov 18, 2019) gave me 27 quilts,  all made by her - start to finish - since I last saw her in February.  It's a good thing we're not a competitive group as her 6-month total is now 56 quilts for WAS!!  That would be hard to beat.  Go, Polly, go!! Polly often works in pairs, making two of a design, but never identical.  A sampling of her bounty is posted here. Even though medical missions are still on hold due to COVID-19 I am happily storing these quilts until we can send them off to comfort the children who have so inspired Polly.  Yesterday took me to a favorite quilt shop in Nobleboro, Maine, where I met new friend Sue to receive her  2 beautiful quilts for WAS.  A new friend, more quilts, and time in a fabric store.....who could ask for more?!             Thank you Polly and Sue for your

Service Above Self

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As I continue to think about Terry's legacy, I also need to mention her love for Rotary which was as important to her as her quilting. Terry was a second-generation Rotarian, becoming a member in 1987, just a month after women were first invited to join the organization.  She held every office in her club, including club president. Being a "people person", she always sought out Rotarians when she traveled, often staying with them through Rotary's host exchange program. Her gregarious nature, and commitment to Rotary networking, were instrumental in building the reach of Wrap-A-Smile . Back in 2013, Terry was honored with Rotary International's Service Above Self Award , which is the highest honor an individual Rotarian may receive. It is given to those who demonstrate exemplary humanitarian service with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others through Rotary. Terry was only the eighth Rotarian in our Dist