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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich 401-874-2116

URI students create blankies to
cuddle children at Hasbro

Students' URI 101 class takes textiles to heart

Freshman Ralph Toribio shows Carolyn Perkins the shapes he is cutting for the blanket his group is making.
KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 20, 2003 -- Last month, while many students worked on papers for their classes, a group of freshmen at the University of Rhode Island were hard at work on their "blankies." As part of their URI 101 class community service project, the students selected fabric, designed patterns, and created blankies for ill children in need of the cuddly wrap's magical power and comfort.

The student's creations were for Project Linus, a non-profit organization that donates new, handmade, washable blankets and afghans to ailing children.Because most of the students in her two URI 101 class sections said they are interested in the textiles industry, College of Human Science and Services adjunct faculty member, Mary Beth Gale, thought the blanket project would tie things together for them. Though the majority of the students involved in the project are majoring in textile-related fields, for many of them this marked their first hands-on experience with fabric selection, preparation and sewing by hand or machine.

Carolyn Perkins, from Project Linus (2nd from right) makes suggestions for the quilt border with (L-R) Loida LeBron, Woonsocket, RI, Maggie Balzer, Houston, TX, and Lauren Behie, Wakefield, RI.
Lauren Behie, a Textile Marketing Design major from Wakefield, R.I., said, "It was difficult to do some of the sewing techniques, but it made me feel good to know we did a good deed for someone in need."

Ralph Toribio, of Providence, R.I., expressed similar sentiments. "It was a new experience for me," he said. "I thought it was going to be impossible to make a quilt, but at the end we did it."

Carolyn Perkins, a Project Linus volunteer, walked the group of students through the process of quilt creating. Perkins has been a volunteer with the program for just over a year; her involvement began when her own child received a Project Linus blanket at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. After seeing how important the blanket became, Perkins began to make blankets for the project on her own.

Jylian Twaddle of Toms River, NJ, and Kerri Quinn from Brownfield, Maine, work on measuring and cutting squares for their quilt.
Though this was the first time Perkins had ever led a group of students in blanket-making, she has past experience as a home economics teacher. She said she found her experience with the students to be "very interesting – it was a lot of fun." Perkins said she enjoyed watching the students create with their own ideas. Together, she and the students turned out seven blankets for Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Project Linus has been donating handmade security blankets to children since 1995, and has delivered over 673,000 of them around the world. With over 300 chapters in the United States, recipients of the blankets are no longer limited to pediatric cancer patients. The project now donates blankets to any child who is seriously ill or traumatized – in other words, any child in need of a sense of warmth and comfort. The project’s motto says it best: "A Project Linus blanket is like a big hug when you most need one."

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Page last revised Tuesday, October 21, 2003 .