Sewing teachers Leaha Rae Almquest, left, and Marsha Roby teach students, from left, Ryan Carpenter, Paloma Garcia and Nevaeh Lee to sew dresses bound for young girls in Uganda. Students not pictured who participated in the program are Kaytlyn Cedillos, Kaya Linford and Jessica Bentz. Teachers not pictured are Pat Howe and Chris La Rose. Photo submitted

Students make dresses for Ugandan girls

The Indian Valley YOUth Summit finished its final after-school activities for the year. Every Wednesday in May, students participated in a sewing workshop. Interested Greenville High School and Indian Valley Academy students learned how to sew dresses that will be sent to Uganda next year with the students who attend the IVA led Uganda service trip.

The project didn’t just happen. Throughout the school year YOUth Summit organizer Marsha Roby has worked diligently to get Indian Valley youth to “get outside themselves” and think of others.

“But how do you nurture a helping spirit in your kid? That can be tricky, especially when they tend to sleep until noon and break out in hives over picking up a broom?” Roby asked. She has many ideas of how to get teens engaged.

She encourages parents to be good role models. “If you do good, your kids will do good. Sometimes it can be as simple as being kind to others. If your teen sees you helping the old lady cross the street, he will likely do the same,” said Roby.

She offered that tutoring groups are another great way for kids who excel in school to help others and to help younger children. She’d like to see students volunteering to help with community suppers, helping at the Methodist or Indian Valley Thrift stores, helping in the library or helping elderly neighbors with yard work, to name a few such efforts.

Making the dresses for Ugandan girls had multiple purposes. Statistically, girls who looked cared for — those in new dresses — are less likely to be kidnapped or trafficked in Uganda. Not only did Indian Valley students learn some new skills in sewing, but they are helping to combat trafficking of young girls — some of the “giving of self” Roby has been referring to.


“Charitable young people are less likely to cry over what they don’t have and more likely to feel grateful for what they do have. Altruistic youth tend to be socially competent and have higher self-esteem,” said Roby.

The YOUth Summit is looking for youth who are interested in learning how to hair braid and face-paint this summer. The newly acquired skills could then be used to help at festivals such as Kids Fest. Interested youth are asked to call Roby at  284-6534.

“Prodding our kids to get out of themselves and become more involved with others can lead to a better life for them now and in the years to come,” added Roby.