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News :: 9 Who Care: VSHS senior Megan Ternus honored for Haiti dress project
· 10:52am January 3rd, 2013
When Megan Ternus stands up to receive one of the KCRG-TV “9 Who Care” awards later this month, she will be thinking of the many other people who have helped her make and send more than 1,100 dresses to Haiti.
The Vinton-Shellsburg High School senior began the project after learning about the need at the National Catholic Youth Conference in November of 2011.
“My goal was to make 250 dresses,” said Megan. “Currently we have over 1,100 dresses made. I also started making school uniforms for a school in Belle Fontaine, Haiti. Kids need a uniform in order to attend school there.”
In July 2012 Fr. Marc Magloire of the Notre Dame de Lourdes church in Belle Fontaine came from Haiti to visit several members of the Iowa churches involved in the Sister Church program.
“I presented him 548 dresses,” said Megan. “He took 50+ dresses with him back to Haiti. I will be going down to Haiti on January 15-23 of 2013 with a group of people from St. Mary's church in Vinton and All Saints church in Cedar Rapids. I will be taking pillowcase dresses and school uniforms to the kids in the villages.”
Kathy Luze of Vinton knows as well as anyone how hard Megan has worked and how she has involved sewing enthusiasts from all over the U.S. in this project.
Kathy estimates that at least 200 to 300 of the dresses for Megan’s project have come through Viking Sewing Center in downtown Vinton.
“Megan asked us to be a drop-off point,” said Kathy. “We have sent out patterns and handed out patterns. We keep a container of dresses that people drop off and Megan comes weekly to pick them up.”
Word of Megan’s project has spread throughout the area. And thanks to a national Catholic newsletter, people all over the country have heard about the dress project and have contacted Kathy and Dean Luze for patterns and other materials, then sent completed dresses to the store for Megan to pick up there.
Some of the dresses are actually made from pillowcases, while many more are made in the “pillowcase” style, said Kathy.
While many people have used fabric they already had, others have purchased fabric from Viking Sewing Center, along with other materials.
“We can hardly keep our bias tape in stock,” said Kathy.
Kathy is impressed by Megan and the response she has inspired in other people.
“It’s been really wonderful,” she said. Viking Sewing employee Donna Merchant has sewn 101 dresses and former employee Rita Moore has completed nearly 100 more.
“Megan’s a great kid and she really works hard at this,” said Kathy. “Many groups have called upon her to speak, and she is more than willing to talk to them to tell them what she is all about. It’s pretty commendable that she is so busy with a full schedule but is willing to take the time to talk about this project.”
While most of the dresses are for girls sizes 8-12, Kathy said dresses of all sizes are needed still. And while Megan plans to take many dresses during her trip to Haiti, the project will continue after she returns.
“It’s a great cause that I hope people participate in,” says Kathy.
Megan, while planning her trip to Haiti, is also thinking about the many people who have helped her to help others there.
“I am very honored to be nominated as one of the 9 Who Care,” she said. “I appreciate all of those that have helped make this project possible. I wish that they can be nominated for the 9 Who Care as well. Everyone deserves to be acknowledged for their support and help.”
See more photos and information HERE.
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