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Seniors sew to support survivors

By JUDITH LINDER-ASHAKIH • Aug 7, 2017 at 10:00 AM

This year at the Huron County Fair, a very special quilt will be on display featuring artistic patches created by youngsters — some of whom have suffered from bullying and who have important messages against and about bullying.

This platform was offered by the Huron County Victims Assistance booth at the 2016 Fair to allow anyone to put their feelings into art. The 41 cloth patches created, each about six inches square, have been worked into a quilt designed by volunteers from Norwalk's Senior Enrichment Center at Shady Lane. You know it is filled with love for the victims when you hear the comments of the quilters.

“Our goal is to do something really, really nice for the kids," said Jean Nottke as she threads her needle. "The Victims Assistance office approached the Senior Enrichment Center to see what we could do together. We had a meeting on how the patches should be arranged. We have 16 hours work done in weekly meetings of seven people. About 25 hours total will be needed to finish the quilt. It is made to be displayed, not for use, not ever to be washed, but to keep the love in it."

"The kids did a beautiful job," said Dorothea Miller, as she reads off words on some of the patches: ‘Be a Buddy not a Bully;’ ‘Be Friendly not a Bully;’ ‘Stamp out Bullying;’ ‘Pick flowers not fights;’ ‘Bullys are mean — don't be one;’ ‘Don't Bully, the Hurt Lasts a Lifetime.’”

There are patches to boost confidence, too, such as “Other people don’t define you; Be yourself;” “You can do Anything; Someone does care.”

“When the kids see the quilt, they will know there are a lot of people that care about them,” said Mary Carsey, another quilter.

“I was so impressed by the kind words of encouragement and the artistic talent of the young people who participated in the 2016 Anti-Bullying Campaign Project that I wanted to keep my promise to make sure this fabric art would be proudly on display at this year’s county fair,” said Tina Ashakih.

As they talked over other uses for the quilt after its debut at the 2017 fair, April Ward suggested it could be taken to local schools to raise awareness of the unhappiness victims have suffered and the continuing need to fight against bullying.

There are three other members of the Seniors Quilters Club — Becky Nestor, Rita Bragg and Karen Schick, who volunteer their time. The quilt backing and other supplies also are donated. Huron Çounty Prosecutor Joel Sitterly came to meet the quilters as they set up for a recent session along with Victims Assistance advocate Tina Ashakih. As appreciation of their caring contribution to the county's program, Sitterly brought the women some giant cookies for break time.

Besides the quilt on display at the Huron County Victims' Assistance booth, this will be the first time they will be partnering with the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Linda Border, Director of the Huron County Victims' Assistance said, "This is the first time we are partnering with any agency on a sexual assault awareness issue. We are very excited about this outreach to victims. Fairgoers are encouraged to leave messages of hope at the newly-remodeled booth. Volunteers from outlying areas will be there with educational material as well as give-away items."

Something new, the Ohio Sexual Violence Help Line, is the first confidential statewide help line that is dedicated to serving all survivors of sexual violence. 1-844 OHIO HELP or 1-844- 644-6435.

To contact local Huron County Victims' Assistance and to speak to Linda Border, director/municipal court advocate; Tina Ashakih, common pleas court advocate/events coordinator; and Kimberly Jones, juvenile court advocate, call 419-663-3839, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you are interested in joining the quilters, or donating to them, visit or call the Huron County Senior Center on Shady Lane in Norwalk. Other programs available are crochet, art, jewelry, stained glass, Mai Jong, dulcimer classes and book club.

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