These teenagers are really something else. Students in Huntington High School art teacher Kim Valerio’s Fashion I class have completely signed on to the notion that it is better to give than receive, especially during the holiday season.
The talented young people sewed dresses for dolls that were later donated to charity for ultimate distribution as gifts to children in the community. The story of how this all took shape and then unfolded is a touching one.
“Finley Dunn, one of my ninth grade students, showed me some doll dresses that she was sewing in order to donate them and she asked me if any of the other students in class might want to also make some dresses,” Ms. Valerio said. “My students had recently learned how to use the classroom sewing machines, so it was a perfect opportunity for them to continue sewing.”
Ms. Valerio contacted Kelly Donovan, who was collecting the doll dresses. She along with her partner, Jennifer Tullo owns Craftree, a sewing studio located on Green Street in Huntington Village. “They both have children in the district, at Jefferson, Southdown and Woodhull schools,” the art teacher said.
Ms. Donovan had been following on Facebook the Huntington Station based Helping Hand Rescue Mission, which had received a donation of 50 American girl dolls that it planned to distribute to children in need for the holidays. “However, the dolls needed clothing, so they put out a request for volunteers to make doll dresses for the dolls,” Ms. Valerio said.
Ms. Donovan volunteered to help, but when her store received a large order to make costumes for Lynch School of Ballet, she needed to find additional volunteers to make the doll dresses. “She solicited help from her own community and received an overwhelming response,” Ms. Valerio said. “Finley Dunn’s mom and Ms. Donovan were already acquainted from their joint involvement with the Jefferson Primary School PTA and that is how Finley came to start sewing doll dresses.”
The Huntington High School fashion students created about a dozen doll dresses in all. The group includes Finley Dunn, Taraina Augustin, Analisse Batista, Morgan Colleluori, Olivia Conte, Rachel Deegan, Keira Francis, Lauren Holly, Shannon Kehoe and Margo Nitekman and sophomore Fantazhia Ward.
When all was said and done, Craftree was able to donate more than 70 doll dresses to Helping Hand Rescue Mission. The holidays will be a little bit brighter for an awful lot of youngsters in the Huntington community.
“I am very proud of my Fashion I students for stepping up to the challenge and contributing something special for those in need,” Ms. Valerio said.