MONROE, Conn. – Invited to a sewathon a couple of years year ago while visiting her sister in Maine, Monroe resident Liz Skarzynski thought, why not?
Together the group of women made over 100 dresses for the Iowa-based Dress A Girl Around The World organization, a nonprofit group that delivers dresses to girls in underprivileged areas.
While she did more cutting than sewing that first time, Skarzynski still had a great experience and decided to replicate the event in Connecticut. Thanks to the help of a local leader — the group calls them "Ambassadors," — the former marketing associate was able to organize sewathons of her own.
Using space at different churches in Fairfield County, Skarzynski has hosted five sewathons in 2017, sewing dresses with large pockets for girls who may not even own a single garment. Typically she has her groups sew dresses in five sizes from a basic pattern and includes a toy and underwear in the pockets.
Fabric is donated and sewers are invited to bring their own sewing machines and tools, (although not required). Skarzynski whose day job is running Digital Media Solutions , her home-based business that converts pictures and video into digitized media, says this is a wonderful "side job."
Depending where the dress is going, it might be a sundress-style or, for more conservative areas, a T-shirt-style dress. She’s also partnered with a Connecticut chapter of Days for Girls , a group that provides feminine hygiene products to girls around the world and has included their kits in the dress pockets as well.
Each garment has a Dress A Girl Around The World tag prominently displayed on the outside of the dress.
Making the dresses, it turns out, is the easy part. The hard part is getting them where they need to be.
That's where Fairfield-based Sacred Heart University’s nursing program and its medical missions come into play.
“They loved the idea,” said Skarzynski. “They’ve been taking dresses for me to Jamaica and Guatemala and in January will go to Uganda, where I have a contact at an orphanage.”
“The opportunity for our students to give a new, handmade dress to a young girl who may have never had a new dress before is a privilege," said Christina Gunther, director of Global Health Program|Health Science Program Instructor at Sacred Heart University.
"The resource-limited areas we serve in Guatemala, Jamaica, Uganda and Haiti have many girls who are delighted to receive the gift.”
For more information about the Southern Connecticut chapter of Dress A Girl Around the World, contact email@example.com.
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