Edinburg, N.D., teens send over 1,000 new dresses to little girls in Haiti
EDINBURG, N.D. — A simple idea from by high school seniors is changing thousands of lives.
Tonight little girls around the world are wearing new clothes, for the first time in their lives.
"Sierra and I just cried. We were like okay now we have to set a new goal," said Ally Knutson.
Sierra Jenson and Ally Knutson's goal didn't only involve themselves, but a way for the entire community of Edinburg to help with a project.
"We decided to set a goal of 100 dresses for our school and community to make," said Sierra Jenson.
Dresses for little girls who have never had one before.
"It's really heartbreaking knowing they dont have any new clothes to wear," said Jenson.
"It gives them hope, gives them something to be happy about and gives them relief of having to wear clothes that are ratty, holes and worn out," said Knutson.
The high school seniors heard about the Real Hope for Haiti Project through their work with the school group Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
For Jenson -- the whole concept posed a bit of a challenge -- she was far from an expert with the needle.
"Seeing the girls and how hard it is there -- it gave me the courage to say hey I can learn something and do it," said Jenson.
And she did. The girls first recruited some people very close to them to help out.
"All of our grandmas," said Jenson.
But the project spread like wildfire, thanks to a local designer Katie Skoog. She has 15,000 followers on Facebook.
She offered free fabric to her 'digital friends' who wanted to make a dress.
"Knowing they are going to take time out of their day and schedule to do that it's the least I can do," said Skoog.
Within weeks -- dresses were coming in from all over the country. Thirty-nine states to be exact.
"We were so excited, we hung them all on a clothing rack, documents where they were from," said Jenson.
"It's really heartbreaking knowing the poverty level and how much they have to deal with natural disasters. Their life is so hard, not having any new clothes or any new toys or nothing," said Knutson.
The goal started at one hundred dresses -- they ended up with more than 1,000.
"It's crazy, when I first started I had no idea it would go this far," said Jenson.
"It's really cool, from Edinburg, N.D., our small little bubble, can impact so many different people by letting them help us with our project," said Knutson.
The dresses have been shipped to Haiti. Knutson and Jenson have each received pictures back, proving that anyone can make a difference, thousands of miles away.
"It made me so happy, in the picture her face is so sad, and I can tell her life is really hard, but it gives her hope," said Jenson.
"It was really cool, awe and inspiring, like amazing, that girl is wearing a dress that I made and I made a difference in her life," said Knutson.
The girls dress project for Haiti is being recognized at the upcoming National FCCLA Convention this summer in Atlanta.