Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stepping Stones


Last week a small group of us visited two orphanages here in Tokyo - to deliver the Stepping Stones quilts from Mormon Helping Hands, and gift certificates and futons from the Franciscans.

Orphanages are more like group foster homes here, with the teens transitioning into more independent settings (college dorms, group homes, apartments, military service) once they turn 18 and graduate from high school.

As Julie presented the quilts to the graduates (or to their caregivers) she explained that when we made these quilts, we put our love into each stitch.  We hope that this warmth and love will be felt as the quilts are used.

Sekiguchi-san gave each student a beautiful card as well, which translated into English reads:

We are a group called “Stepping Stones”.

In a Japanese garden, it means Fumi-ishi. As our name implies,
our hope is to be stepping stones for you as you make a new step in your life.

We have made a quilt for you to symbolize our wishes.
The pattern of the quilt is called sticks & stones. The small 2 cm squares in the quilt represent stones which will help you spread your wings and fly high.
We hope that the quilt will keep you warm in body and spirit and remind you that there are people who wish you happiness.

May your future be bright! March 7, 2013
With Love,
*** Stepping Stones*** 

Here's this year's lineup of quilts - each the same size and from the same pattern (fairness and uniformity are highly valued in Japan), but personalized according to each teen's favorite color.

By Cindy G, Utah, who started the Stepping Stones project last spring!
by Julie W, Tokyo, who took over for Cindy

by Laura H, Tokyo, who also long-arm quilted some of the quilts.

by Vanalee C and Susan L, Utah

by yours truly, Cynthia, Tokyo

By Sandy T, Utah

By Anny W, Oregon

This was such a fun and gratifying project.  I hope this is the first of many years for Stepping Stones!

I first blogged about this project here.  The pattern is Sticks and Stones from Bonnie Hunter and can be found here.

And just for fun - here are the mealtime rules posted near a table where 3-4 year old boys were eating lunch, during our tour of one of the orphanages.  No translation necessary!