Over the last few years we've met some interesting, devoted, passionate, generous, hard-working, big-hearted and simply put - amazing - people that have supported our cause and made it blossom. We have worked with more than 400 volunteers of all ages - and each and every one has directly contributed to our success. One of our most happy accidents in recent years has been working with youth and teens. We never set out to do this - but these proactive individuals always found us - and we are so grateful they did.
I'd like to share a guest blog post from a very devoted and giving Mom, Kelly Wesslen.
By Kelly Wesslen
May 14th, 2015 I was attending a Teen Volunteers In Action meeting, listening attentively to Rachel Ackley of Cecily’s Closet, describe her non-profit organization. I was so touched by the heartfelt thought, stemming from the creators and their efforts to renovate and transform homebound sick children’s rooms. The story of Cecily and her disease moved me, especially because this strong confident entrepreneur speaking, was her mother. When Rachel shared one aspect of the organization was to find volunteers to sew and provide belly bands to all family’s for the protection and comfort over feeding tubes on the children’s stomachs, a light bulb clicked.
I am a leader of a 9th grade Girl Scout troop, comprised of 7 girls, recently graduated from Notre Dame Academy, The Jewish Academy and Carmel Valley Middle School. In the past couple years our troop’s focus has been “Fun, Development and Philanthropy”. We taught the girls how to sew. It struck me that they could probably sew belly bands for these families in need. I spoke with Rachel briefly and followed up with her, proposing our efforts. I investigated the details of sewing the belly bands further and proposed it to our girls. They were interested and touched by Cecily’s story and we decided to give it a try. After a trip to the fabric store and two long summer days of sewing parties, the girls accomplished 14 belly bands! It was quite an effort, since most girls had only sewed 2 pillows during our learning sessions. We are sure our future belly bands will be of a higher quality, but the girls were proud and humbled to offer their first belly bands to Cecily and Rachel for distribution to families.
The Ackley’s welcomed our GS troop into their home. The girls met Cecily, saw her decorated room, and learned a great deal about Cecily’s Closet and giving to others. They even enjoyed a tasty cupcake that the Ackley’s so generously prepared. The girls are motivated to sew more belly bands in what spare time they can muster during their freshmen year of high school. We are all grateful to have been introduced to Cecily, Rachel and the Cecily’s Closet Organization.
Thank you Kelly for sharing your experience with us and for opening the door to yet another opportunity for teens in our community.
We are so grateful to the devoted young women who donated their time and talent to sew belly bands for children with feeding tubes. We would not be able to sustain this program if it were not for people like Kelly that reach out and offer their help! We are so very grateful for the beautiful belly bands they produced and we know that the children that receive them (and their families) will feel that their children are wrapped with love when they wear them.
We say it ALL the time but it is true: volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization. Enjoy the pictures below of these beautiful young women as they create belly bands for children in our community.
Onwards and upwards!