Bethany Leader, 8, left, chats with her friends, Kyra Wilson, 5, and Lily Archuleta, 8, as she ties knots in a fleece blanket Friday at Christian Heritage School. Students worked on the blankets that teacher Tracie Patterson will take to an orphanage in China next month.
Steamboat students make fleece blankets to send to China
Tracie Patterson discusses the Blankets for Babies program, which Christian Heritage School students are making fleece blankets for children in China.
Steamboat Springs More than a year ago in the Henan province of China, local resident Tracie Patterson watched as 400 children in an orphanage went to sleep wearing snow pants and ski jackets.
When she left China with her newly adopted daughter Miri, there still were 399 children left in that orphanage, and Patterson hasn’t forgotten them or their struggle against the cold nights.
She returned to Christian Heritage School where she teaches, and launched the Blankets for Babies program, a service project for students of all ages.
Last fall, the school sent a package of 25 fleece blankets to the orphanage, and each blanket had the flair of a CHS student.
With donated funds and materials, the school purchased fleece material in a variety of prints.
On Friday morning, students ranging from kindergarten to middle school cut the outside of the material into a fringe and then tied them into knots to make decorative, soft and warm blankets for this year’s batch.
“They’re easy for the kids to make, and it’s hard to find service programs for the younger kids,” Patterson said.
Kendall Kelly, 8, said she wanted to make the blankets for Chinese children because they didn’t have heat.
“That’s just what we do at this school,” Kendall said about wanting to help others.
Makenzie Stine, 11, said it’s important to help people on the other side of the world as well as friends and neighbors.
“In the U.S., we have so many things, and they don’t have anywhere near what we have,” Makenzie said. “So it’s good to help out our brothers and sisters.”
This year, Patterson will take about 15 blankets — along with some donated art supplies — to Henan herself when she returns there in about a month.
And this time, she’ll return with another child; a sister for Miri.
“There were still 399 kids left, and we felt like we could take another one,” she said. Miri “has just been a huge blessing.”
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com