Girls in Ephraim “Tying On” Holiday Cheer – Press Release 11/06/2003

DATE 11/16/2003 5:55 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Girls in Ephraim “Tying On” Holiday Cheer

Teenage girls living at the Young Women’s Empowerment Center (YWEC) in Ephraim have always found community service to be a personal growing experience.The girls have spent the summer months planting trees for the U.S. Forest Service, working outdoors in city cemeteries and parks, and cleaning up areas around local roads and highways.

So when the 10 girls currently living at YWEC were presented with a holiday project that gave them a chance to help children and youth in need, they embraced the opportunity. But this time, they were doing something most of them had never done in their young lives: quilting.

“They definitely didn’t know anything about quilting,” says Marilyn Jensen, one of six partners who operate the center. It provides a temporary home for girls who are underprivileged or have faced difficult challenges.

Jensen laughs as she recalls the first few times the girls worked on the project. There was a lot to learn, she says. “We’ve always done a lot of community service, but this is the first time we’ve ever done something as “domestic” as this.”

The girls hope to tie 70 quilts, which range in size from twin to queen, by Dec. 5. They will be distributed by the Shriner’s Hospital and the Masonic order to children and youth in need. Some of the quilts will also be provided to police agencies to hand out to the homeless.

“The girls are so motivated to meet that goal,” Jensen says. “They have it all figured out, how many they have to tie in one day to make it to 70. They work on the quilts in their free time and on weekends.”

Part of their motivation lies in the fact that they can relate to the people who will be receiving the quilts, Jensen adds. “Many of these girls grew up knowing what it’s like to go to bed without a quilt, they know what it feels like not to have anything. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment and responsibility, they like knowing that they can do things.”

That is the exact purpose of the project, says Ken Bona, who helped organize the effort as part of his role as chairman of three organizations with Christmas charities: the Paternal Order of the Eagles, the Masonic Orders and the Oddfellows. Members of those groups supplied the materials, including fabric, batting and yarn for the project.

“It’s a win-win situation,” he says. “It’s a wonderful program for the girls. It lets them give back to the community, and I understand that they are loving it. It also provides a much-needed service to people in need.”

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502
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