Dexter Senior Changing Little Lives One Stitch at a Time


Sandra DeCorte with the baby quilts she has sewn. The center of the quilt has a children’s theme, such as the one she is holding with Cat in the Hat, that adds to familiarity and comforting feel for the child. Photo: Doug Marrin

By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

Not many things in life are more comforting than a warm blanket, especially when you’re a child.

One member of the Dexter Senior Center, Sandra DeCorte, has been using her talents to provide a nice, warm, one-of-a-kind blanket for children going through a tough time. I stopped by the Center to chat with Sandra and Senior Center Trustee Joanne Westman about the effort.

“I’ve quilted for a number of years and am just a novice,” laughs Sandra. “But I love quilting. When Joanne suggested Project Linus, I thought I could do a lot of good for all these kids by making children’s blankets.”

Project Linus is a national organization headquartered in Belton, Missouri, with chapters in all 50 states. From its website, Project Linus states that its mission is to first “Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers.’”

Blanketeer Sandra started quilting in the 70s. She has been at it off and on through the years, making quilts for grandchildren and others. And now, she has discovered a way to use her occasional hobby for the benefit of kids experiencing a tough place in life.

The blankets can also be knitted or crocheted. “I’m hoping others might join in,” says Sandra. “I think it’s always good to do good and make people happy.”

Sandra finds the activity meditative, enjoying the artistry and mystery of how the patterns and colors will turn out when the quilt is finished.

“As people retire, and they have some time, they need a purpose,” says Joanne. “One of my philosophies is that a purpose gives you a reason to get up in the morning. And giving back to others is probably the most important part of what you can do as you enter your golden years.”

The quilts are taken down to the Ann Arbor Sewing Center, a pick-up location for Project Linus. The blankets will be delivered to hospitals, shelters, safe houses, and wherever children are in extra need of some comfort.

It’s a small thing, a hobby, something to relax with and while away the time as the thoughts and body rejuvenate themselves. But as we know, small pebbles can create far-reaching ripples. Who knows how the memory of curling up with a favorite blanket, a comforting friend who was there with you through the tough and scary times, might carry over into someone’s adult life. As someone once said, “There are no small acts of compassion.”

“And I love doing things like this,” says Sandra.

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