Little Dresses for Africa Bring A Special Spirit to Youth

Little Dresses for Africa Bring A Special Spirit to Youth
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Celebrating a decade of service, Community Education Services (CES) Canada is a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to providing access to education for orphans and other AIDS-affected children in Kenya.

The only community-based group working at the elementary school level in Kenya, CES Canada is committed to positive change. As set forth in its Statement of Intent: “In a world where 800 million people go to bed hungry every day, where 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day, and where 600 million children live in absolute poverty, CES Canada is bringing hope to Kenyan youth living in the Lurambi District located north and west of Kakamega in Western Province (an area of 3,000 sq. km.).”

When the Sudbury Stake Young Women’s Presidency became aware of an opportunity for their youth to bless the lives of girls on the other side of the world, they sprung into action and came up with this service project.

For most young women, making an article of clothing from start to finish was a totally new experience, but during a test run of the “Little Dresses” project at Young Women’s Camp in July, 20 dresses were completed, and a desire to do more was ignited. At Youth Leadership Conference the next month, a both Young Men and Young Women put their hearts into the service project that yielded a total of 114 dresses in less than four hours.

Adult leaders from across Ontario were on hand to assist and teach sewing machine skills, with the Young Men likening the action of the machine to driving a racecar. One even spent the entire four hours at this point in the assembly line.

Elizabeth Washington, 17, of Toronto, had been assigned to an outdoor service project but, due to environmental allergies, joined the “Little Dresses for Africa” group. Although she was “into fashion” and had never sewn anything before, she was determined to complete a dress from fabric selection to the final pressing. From this experience, Elizabeth said she was now planning to sew several skirts for herself and would use this experience to complete a Personal Progress goal.

The special feeling of helping those less fortunate was prevalent among the group. Mallory Babin, 13, of Sudbury, said she absolutely loved the idea and finished a dress by herself as well as helping with a couple more.

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Margetson sisters Emily, 16, and Klaighnah, 13, of Timmins, and Beth Wiwchar, 12, of Sudbury, were excited to have the opportunity of performing this service for their “little sisters” in Kenya. Emily plans to present the “little dresses” idea to her school club as a worthwhile undertaking this year.

Michael Frederiksen, President of CES Canada (which partners with CES Kenya), expressed deep appreciation for the efforts of the Church on behalf of needy youth in rural Kenya.

In Mosiah 2:17, we are taught to follow the Saviour by losing ourselves in unselfish service to others. The youth of the Sudbury Stake have come to understand that concept and have felt the special spirit that comes from being in the service of their fellow beings, knowing that they were, at the same time, in the service of their God.