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Fashion Studies program gives back to community

Rachel Crawford, Associate Editor

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On Service Day last semester, the Tarleton State University Fashion Studies program made teddy bears and dolls to donate to the Department of Family and Protective Services’ Rainbow Rooms, which are located at local Child Protective Services offices. Rainbow Rooms hold supplies, including diapers, toys, clothing, blankets and more, for children of abuse and neglect.

Eight years ago, Lynne Lovett, Adjunct professor for the Fine Arts department, started making the bears and has continued through the years.

“They do it as a beginning project so that they learn how to maneuver around curves and learn the parts of the sewing machine and get the feel of what happens,” Dr. Karol Blaylock, Associate Professor for Fine Arts, said. “It’s a cute little project. It’s a lot of fun to do.”

Blaylock said that at one of her previous schools, they made flat teddy bears to sit in police cars for children, because the police are usually first responders, not CPS. Now, the Fashion Studies program continues to make bears and give back to the community.

“They do provide comfort when the little kids are pulled from homes; they’re not allowed to take anything because their parents’ bought it and it belongs to the parents, it doesn’t belong to the child,” Blaylock said.

The teddy bears go wherever the child goes, even if they leave a foster home.

“As a Tarleton alumni and a current foster mom to twin boys, this means to much! The boys came into our home with the clothes they had probably been wearing for days and a few things from CK family services and CPS! They were given two teddy bears and they still sleep with them! Those few items they were given on day one mean so much to them!” Shaena Roberts commented on Facebook when Tarleton shared a photo of the teddy bears.

On Service Day last semester, Blaylock said they had over 30 helpers and finished the day with dozens of dolls and teddy bears.

One thing Blaylock mentioned was that she did not was to highly publicize the teddy bears.

“One of the things that we do, we tell our students, if you see a child holding a bear, don’t run up and say, “Oh, I made that!” because you don’t want to single them out among other children,” Blaylock said.

According to Blaylock, they have more than enough bears now, so they have switched gears and are making dresses for children in Africa. Blaylock said she usually gets fabric stores to either give a discount on fabric or donate it. Once the dresses are made, they are sent to a distribution center to be sent to Africa.

“They’re for children who are often in cultures that are moving from indigenous and being more westernized,” Blaylock said.

Blaylock plans to continue the tradition of giving back to the community for the 2018 Service Day, which is March 22. She doesn’t know what project the Fashion Studies program will be sponsoring or what it will benefit, but she does know that they are participating and hopes Tarleton students will participate as much as they did this year.

“To give to the outer community, that is the positive in this. [The students] see that it has a purpose,” Blaylock said.

For more information on Rainbow Rooms in the area, visit here. The Stephenville Rainbow Room is located at 2175 West South Loop. For more information, contact Bobby Chesher at 817-792-5258 or [email protected]

Top Ten Needed Items for Rainbow Rooms:

  • Diapers
  • Car seats
  • School supplies
  • Formula
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Toys and children’s books
  • New children’s clothing
  • Blankets
  • Pack ‘n’ Play Portable Play Yards

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Fashion Studies program gives back to community