Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day one as a introduction to Dress a Girl CT

Hello!  Welcome to my Dress a Girl Connecticut blog!  My name is Janine and I am the Connecticut state representative for Dress a Girl Around the World.  

Dress a Girl was founded by Hope 4 Women Intl. in October of 2009 under the notion that every girl should own at least one dress.  We transform new & gently used pillowcases into beautiful dresses for little girls.  The dresses are then given to someone traveling to a country where there is a girl in need.  As of today, about 19,000 dresses have been made by someone like yourself and distributed to little girls in 36 countries.

I discovered DAG (Dress a Girl) in August of 2010 when a woman at my church sent out an email inviting me to a sew-fest at our church.  She had heard about DAG from her SIL who found it on the web.  She included the official DAG website so I clicked on it!  As I read about the mission of DAG & looked at all the photos of the precious girls being blessed with a "new" dress and the smiles on their faces, I knew I had to help.  After all, I knew how to sew.  Couldn't be that hard, right?   

We were asked to clean out our linen closets and bring in any gently used pillowcases.  I got to thinking that it is really easy to make a pillowcase.  So, if you're cleaning out your linen closets and getting rid of pillowcases, what would you be doing with your sheets?  How many "pillowcases" could be made from a single sheet?  Surely I should collect sheets too.  How about folks who have fabric in their basement from projects they thought they'd get to and never did?  I should collect cotton fabrics too.  You can see how this snowballed for me.  

I started thinking if I collected these things on my own, that I could get a great jump start for the sew fest that was coming up in September.  I decided to put out an email to all my friends and family locally and ask them to drop off new or gently used sheets and pillowcases & cotton fabrics in a bin I'd put in my driveway.  Then I got to thinking about all my "Facebook" friends.  I posted a call for the same on Facebook.   

I called my friend at church and began to tell her what I had done and all the thoughts I had racing through my head.  She laughed and told me her reaction was the same when she looked at the website.  She had her own personal reasons for wanting to help these little girls.  She confided in me that she didn't know how to sew but once she saw the website, knew God would lead someone to her that would help make the whole thing happen.  She thought it was me.  Together we came up with lists of what we needed to have to pull this off.  I decided to get folks excited about the sew-fest, they might need a visual so I went out and bought a 2-pack of pillowcases.  I left one untouched, and made my first pillowcase dress with the second.  It was SO cute!!  I brought them to church and hung them in the lobby for all to see.  The response was overwhelming as I had hoped. 

People really started bringing in the pillowcases and sheets then!  Every week, our bin would be filled and I brought them home to be washed.  I stockpiled them in my basement until our sew fest.  During that same time, the bin in my driveway was filling every day!  I was touched by how many people were not only cleaning out their closets, but going out and buying new sheets and pillowcases for me!  I had set a personal goal to make 100 dresses on my own through the donations I received before the sew fest.  I did it and in addition, we started about 300 dresses on our first day.  We had 25 women and young ladies come out to help!  

In November, I knew I couldn't let it go so I signed on as the CT state representative for DAG.  We have had several sew fests since then and more people keep volunteering to help.  I have been asked to speak to audiences and congregations about DAG and hope to continue to do this.  My goal is to start many smaller groups of sew fests to help us make dresses.  

Making the dresses is only one part of the DAG story.  We also need to get these dresses to girls in need.  I have no resources to ship and shipping is expensive!  What we try to do is look for people traveling to third world countries that would be willing to take a bag/box of dresses and distribute them to little girls.  There is no cost for the dresses, we only ask that you take pictures of the girls in the dresses and email them to us so we can post them on the DAGATW website.  It inspires us to keep collecting and sewing for the girls.  Together we can bless little girls all over the world!

In February, I was asked to speak briefly at a Christian Conference by the New England Prayer Center.  It was my hope to spread the word about DAG and generate some interest in our cause.  Well, mission accomplished!  David Wagner, founder of Father's Heart Ministry was the emcee and he asked me if I could get him 10,000 (yup-TEN THOUSAND!) dresses by July that he could bring to Africa to a very large orphanage there!  GULP!  I said yes!  We now have women all over the country sewing for this trip!  What a blessing he is to us and the little girls of Africa! 

So, this is a general overview of what Dress a Girl is.  I hope to keep regular postings of what I am doing  and hope that if this is something you are interested in that you will contact me for more information.   Here is the official DAGATW website-take a look!

Thanks & Be Blessed!

1 comment:

  1. LOVE your blog Janine! we missed you on the call tonight.