Megan Ternus learned to sew when she joined 4-H more than 11 years ago. But it was just last November she started sewing pillowcase dresses for children in Haiti.
She got while attending the 2011 National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis. The 18-year-old brought the dress idea back to her church, St. Mary's in Vinton, and the sewing project took off.
"Our original goal was 250 dresses by July, and we had 300 by the end of June," said 18-year-old Megan Ternus.
To date, Megan and many others have sewn more than 600 dresses.
"You don't have to be experienced to do this," said Ternus.
Megan Ternus holds workshops at the church to teach people how to sew the pillowcase dresses. Recently, a priest from Haiti visited the church and took some dresses back with him for children in his parishes.
"He told me I was an angel to them," said Ternus.
He invited Megan to visit Haiti, which she hopes to do soon while taking even more dresses with her.
"After the earthquakes, most kids are orphaned and don't have clothes and run around the streets naked. So it's just a way for them to know we are thinking about them," said Megan Ternus.
The Vinton-Shellsburg High School senior can relate to the children in Haiti better than most people. She was adopted from an orphanage in the Ukraine in 2001.
"I knew somewhat of what these girls were going through, and I knew we can help them and this was a fairly easy task to take on," said Ternus.
Besides the pillowcase dresses, Megan also plans to start making school uniforms for both girls and boys. The uniforms must be green and children can't go to school without a uniform.
She hopes the uniforms and these pillowcase dresses can be something positive for the children of Haiti.
For more information on the pillowcase dresses, contact St. Mary's Church in Vinton at 319-472-3368 or Viking Sewing Center at 319-472-2660.
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