Mira Uithoven (center) assists in Darlene Dreessen’s kindergarten class as a peer helper, and the smiling faces of the kindergartners inspired the Luverne High School senior to organize a project called “Every Pillow has a Story.” She is currently collecting material donations. Instigating a pillow fight with Uithoven are students (from left) Hailey Click, Grace Kempema, Ashton Altman and Ty Kopp.New standard-sized pillows, fabric and toothbrushes/toothpaste are currently being collected by Luverne High School Senior Mira Uithoven for her “Every Pillow has a Story” project.

Luverne High School senior organizes pillowcase project for children

Luverne High School senior Mira Uithoven wants to leave smiles on children’s faces through a project she is coordinating through two youth organizations.

The One Million Pillowcase Challenge was started by the American Patchwork and Quilting Association and challenged quilters, sewers and crafters to create one million pillowcases.

Uithoven is joining the challenge as a member of LHS’ FCCLA chapter with the assistance of her fellow County K-9 4-H Club. Her project is called “Every Pillow has a Story.”

“Many people can relate to that feeling, after a long and stressful day of work or school, when you finally lay your head down on your pillow and you’re just like ‘Ahhhh, finally the day is over.’ I started the project to give children that ‘ahhh’ moment,” she said.

The project relates to the FCCLA’s National Project Leadership in Action, which challenges members to stretch their service-learning skills into an activity that helps their communities.

“All my life I’ve loved to sew, but never seem to find the time,” Uithoven said. “This was the spark in the project and what started ‘Every Pillow has a Story.’”

Currently Uithoven is collecting fabric (3/4 yard by 1/4 yard, new or used), new standard-sized pillows, and toothbrushes/toothpaste for children ages 5 to 10.

Deadline for materials or monetary donations to purchase materials is March 12. Uithoven plans to sew 50 pillowcases on March 19.

The FCCLA chapter and 4-H members will help complete the project. Uithoven is a seasoned participant in the 4-H sewing project.

“A pillowcase was the first item I’ve ever sewn. It is an easy thing to make,” she said.

The County K-9 club has 50 members with 35 of them in eighth grade or lower. Uithoven intends to show interested members how to sew and have each of them complete a pillowcase or a tag that will be pinned to the case recognizing Uithoven’s project.

“Sewing is a great lifelong skill to learn,” she said. “And something that will hopefully encourage the members to sew more bigger and better things.”

Once the pillowcases are completed, Uithoven will register them with the Dutch Rose Quilt Shop in Sioux Falls, a participating business in the One Million Pillowcase Challenge. Thirty-five of the pillows will stay locally, distributed through Luverne’s Backpack Program, and 15 will go to Sanford Children’s Hospital.

To donate to Uithoven’s project, contact her at 507-227-5599 or miraewethoven@gmail.com.

“’Every Pillow has a Story’ recognizes each child is fighting a battle, and they all have different stories, but it is my job to make one of those pages in their book a great one,” she said. “I think one small act of kindness can go a long way, and they deserve this little gift of encouragement to help them with their struggles.”

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