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New Panel Kit "Threads of Hope" Program

Our organization has a special Community Service Project for youth groups, churches, and/or civil organizations wishing to help foreign countries that are currently dealing with HIV/AIDS. This program has been done by senior citizen organizations to church youth groups, and requires little cost.

In our efforts to teach individuals or groups about HIV/AIDS, one way we have found as an affective way to help break the silence and stereotypes many cultures face with this disease, is to engage them to make a commemorative AIDS panel to remember someone they have lost. It gives them a powerful tool to assist with the grieving process and allows the healing process to take place. Many countries do not have the resources to purchase supplies to make a panel, so the program asks Americans to go to their closets of unused or unwanted fabrics and sewing supplies, and donate them to make these kits.

The process starts by asking those in your congregation, office, or school to donate fabric and/or other supplies from their closets that they don't need or want. One youth group did baby-sitting jobs to raise funds for things they didn't get donated, like scissors, Ziplock bags, and glue. Organizations come together with supplies, and create kits that we use in our HIV/AIDS Prevention programs. Completed panels return to the states to tour. Our goal in touring with these sections is to: 1) raise greater global HIV/AIDS Awareness, and 2) raise funds for participating countries. The panels are returned at the completion of that year's tour where they become apart of each respective countries AIDS Memorial Quilt.

We suggest each kit should have:
1 gallon Ziplock bag (or equivalent) for kit supplies
1 meter by 2 meter (3ft x 6th) piece of light colored cotton or muslin (for panel)
Remnants or small pieces of fabric to cut letters (felt is best)
Water based colored markers or fabric pens or fabric paint and brushes

Optional supplies can be:
Pair of scissors
Sewing kit (from hotels) or needles
Beads, ric-rack, buttons, unused spools of thread, etc.
Small bottle of fabric glue

Each kit, when completed, should have enough supplies in it to make a panel.

Sistering Opportunity:

Panels created through our New Panel Kit "Threads of Hope" Program return to the states. They tour to raise funds for participating countries, and allows those who donated supplies to see how their unused things have been used. These panels are our most powerful tool to bring greater global awareness that HIV/AIDS is still a problem, and Americans with very little effort, can offer compassion to those in need.

Some organizations, after seeing the completed panels want to do more. Some make this service project bi-annual or annual event, while other organizations go to the next level and raise funds to send their own volunteers, church members, or staff to the country they are sistering with, and offer them assistance with panelmaking, or offer HIV/AIDS ministries, peer-to-peer education programs, and technical/financial assistance that have worked for them. An introductory letter can be placed in each kit, and recipients are encourage to begin the process by writing back about their experience, and the sharing begins.

This has been an incredible way to bring congregations together who don't think they have a problem with HIV/AIDS in their community, but want to help others. It has also touches school kids who don't think AIDS can happen to them. Once they begin to talk with schools who have lost their teachers and fellow students, the "teachable moment" for them becomes real.

For more information, please contact us here.

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