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Project RISE hosts Love & Learn Doll Project event

2/7/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photos courtesy of Project RISE
DOWNTOWN AKRON — In December, Project RISE staff members and community supporters gathered at Hower House for the Love & Learn Doll Project Reception.

The attendees celebrated the ongoing accomplishments of the Love and Learn Doll Project and all of the families it has helped, according to event organizers.

Project RISE staff member Jennifer Sullivan, who has been coordinating the Doll Project for four years, also was recognized for her dedication to the project that evening. Rachel Matejin, another Project RISE staff member and former intern for the program, will take over the coordination of the Doll Project as Sullivan transitions to a new position.

The Love and Learn Doll Project strives to reach out to children and their parents served by Project RISE. The Doll Project provides handmade dolls, some of which are shown above right, to preschool children living in shelters to help facilitate positive parent-child interaction and school-readiness skills. Each doll comes with a tote bag, baby doll quilt, storybook and educational activity book.

The Learning Doll was developed by Marcia Zashin, of Project ACT of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. In 1999, Debra Manteghi, district homeless education liaison for Akron Public Schools, gained permission to use the doll pattern and concept to begin the Love and Learn Doll Project. 

Shown at above left, from left, at the reception are Matejin, Manteghi and Sullivan.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has partially funded the Doll Project since 2006, and since the project began, volunteers have come together to sew handmade dolls, quilts and tote bags. A group of volunteers has been meeting on the second Monday of the month at Trinity United Church of Christ, 915 N. Main St., where the doll project supplies are stored. There is another sewing group that meets monthly at United Presbyterian Church of Cuyahoga Falls, 2819 Hudson Drive.

Volunteers are needed to help cut fabric and sew. All experience levels are welcome. Doll Project Workshops take place on the third Tuesday of every month from September to May from 6 to 8 p.m. at Trinity United Church of Christ.

To volunteer, learn more about the Doll Project or donate materials, contact the Project RISE office at 330-761-2969 or APSProjectRISE@gmail.com.

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