'Tis the season for giving, and have we got a special deal for you right now––buy a 2007 Quilting Arts Calendar and get a 2006 Calendar for free! And if that's not reason enough, here's another: Quilting Arts, LLC, donates $1 for every calendar sold each year to a non-profit organization that we feel does excellent work. For our 2007 calendar we chose Teens Alone, a community-based organization that helps homeless teenagers stay in their communities so they have a better shot at graduating high school. I met Lydia Kihm, the Director of Teens Alone two years ago when she visited the International Quilt Festival/Spring in Chicago. When Lydia walked through Mary Fisher's Abataka exhibit, like many viewers, she was moved to heavy tears. (This is a woman who cares deeply about the welfare of children.)
I recently had the chance to interview Lydia to find out more about Teens Alone.
What does Teens Alone do?
Teens Alone has four counselors who provide free counseling to teens and parents in Minneapolis’s western suburbs. We also facilitate in-school and community groups. Last year we had 399 youth clients and 73 parents.
Daunting issues that bring teens to us include: sadness over losing a girlfriend or boyfriend, divorce and the challenges of blended families, pregnancy worries, mental health issues, self-mutilation, trouble with the law, problems at school, drug and alcohol experimentation, and chemical dependency
A growing concern is that almost 100 of the teens we worked with were on the verge of, or had already lost stable housing. (I doubt that our geographical area is much different from other communities). There are no local housing options for teens…they have to go into Minneapolis. Most of them refuse by saying, “I’ve lost my home. All I have is school and my job and now you want me to give that up, too?”
Studies show that youth who remain in their home community are less likely to drop out of school, so we are committed to lead the community into finding local options to support these kids to stay in school.
How difficult is it to get funding?
The economy collapsed after September 11, 2001. Businesses felt the impact first. Non profits didn’t feel the effects until 2003. Since then, so many funding streams have dried up.
Having Quilting Arts Magazine recognize Teens Alone and give proceeds from the beautiful calendar (I’m looking at my 2006 calendar right now!) is mind-boggling.
What are your dreams for Teens Alone?
That we’ll go out of business! In a perfect world, adolescents would have fewer bumps along the road and parents could love their kids and find balance between allowing their kids to make mistakes and protecting them at the same time. Since I don’t think that will happen any time soon….my dream is that we remain a free, easily accessible, non-bureaucratic service. My other dream is that I’m standing in the background with a huge smile on my face, watching folks cut a ribbon for housing for kids without a home.
And if your home for kids becomes a reality I think I know a few people who would be overjoyed to make some quilts! I have to ask this--do the kids craft?
We have a youth advisory board and one of the boys, who is a junior, knits. We also have clients who are beaders and painters.
We love hearing that! For anyone wanting to make a donation to Teens Alone, read on––we have an incentive for you!
Teens Alone & Quilting Arts Magazine Raffle
For anyone wanting to make a holiday donation to Teens Alone,if you make a monetary donation of at least $25 to Teens Alone by Tuesday, December 12th, 5:00 PM E.S.T., your name will go into a raffle to win one of three sets of sold-out Quilting Arts Magazine Issues 2-6. For anyone who has tried to obtain these on eBay, you know they go for big bucks. I have a handful of these issues left (for the future grandkids, of course), but I am donating three sets of these sold-out issues to three people who win the raffle.
Here's how to get your name in the raffle:
1.Go to TeensAlone.org and make (at minimum) a $25 donation. All you need is a credit card, and in the special message area, write QUILTING ARTS RAFFLE.
2. After you've made your monetary donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and in the subject line write QA RAFFLE. In the body of your email write your full name and mailing address. Please note that it is crucial you include your full name and address in the body of your email.
You must make your donation and email Quilting Arts that you've made your donation by 5:00 PM EST on Tuesday, December 12th. On Wednesday, December 13th, I'll announce the three winners on the blog.
Good luck and I hope you donate. (It's good karma!)