Last week a small group of us visited two orphanages here in Tokyo - to deliver the Stepping Stones quilts from Mormon Helping Hands, and gift certificates and futons from the Franciscans.
Orphanages are more like group foster homes here, with the teens transitioning into more independent settings (college dorms, group homes, apartments, military service) once they turn 18 and graduate from high school.
As Julie presented the quilts to the graduates (or to their caregivers) she explained that when we made these quilts, we put our love into each stitch. We hope that this warmth and love will be felt as the quilts are used.
Sekiguchi-san gave each student a beautiful card as well, explaining how the little squares represent the "stepping stones" they will take as they gain independence, and reminding them of God's love.
Here's this year's lineup of quilts - each the same size and from the same pattern (fairness and uniformity are highly valued in Japan), but personalized according to each teen's favorite color.
|By Cindy G, Utah, who started the Stepping Stones project last spring!|
|by Julie W, Tokyo, who took over for Cindy|
|by Laura H, Tokyo, who also long-arm quilted some of the quilts.|
|by Vanalee C and Susan L, Utah|
|by yours truly, Cynthia, Tokyo|
|By Sandy T, Utah|
|By Anny W, Oregon|
This was such a fun and gratifying project. I hope this is the first of many years for Stepping Stones!
I first blogged about this project here. The pattern is Sticks and Stones from Bonnie Hunter and can be found here.
And just for fun - here are the mealtime rules posted near a table where 3-4 year old boys were eating lunch, during our tour of one of the orphanages. No translation necessary!