Thursday, May 2, 2013

Quilters from The Pine Needle visit CARES Northwest


Last Friday, a group of volunteers from The Pine Needle Quilt Shop in Lake Oswego were invited to tour CARES Northwest in NE Portland. The staff treated us to lunch and a tour of their facility.  We learned about the process that children go through and about the wonderful treatment they receive.

CARES (Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Services) is a collaborative, community-based medical program for the assessment and treatment of child abuse.  They were founded 26 years ago by women who wanted a place where kids who have suffered physical or sexual abuse could receive all their care - medical and mental health services - in a safe and loving environment. 

The symbol of CARES is the quilt.  Quilts are filled with loving energy.  They receive most of their quilts from The Pine Needle quilters, but also receive quilts from NW Quilters, Kaiser Permanente Quilters, First Christian Church Quilters, Project Linus, Tualatin Valley Quilters Guild, Valley Community Presbyterian Church, and Quilts for Kids - Bend.

“Kids come into CARES to lay down their burdens and are given a quilt to cuddle in and take home.”

The CARES staff see 1400 kids a year and each child is given a quilt.  That’s a lot of quilts.  Some children may be coming directly with the police, so the quilt might be their only possession. CARES staff report that many of these kids hold onto these quilts for years, and even take them to college.

Here’s a Quilt Story that was shared with us.
"A couple months ago, we saw a teenager at CARES Northwest for acute sexual assault.  She was not happy about being here.  The girl had been seen at CARES Northwest when she was much younger for concerns of sexual abuse by a sibling.  She did not remember being at CARES Northwest before until the team brought her into our conference room to pick out a quilt.
        When she saw the quilts, her whole demeanor changed.  She warmly expressed that she thought she had gotten a quilt at CARES Northwest more than 10 years ago.  The quilt is her "prized" possession and she still has it."

On our tour, we saw treatment rooms where quilts are prominently displayed.  The walls and halls are all painted with whimsical animal scenes. This does not feel like your typical institution.  It is cheerful, warm, and inviting. They have created a space where healing can begin.  


This is the mother lode of quilts room- also known as a Conference Room.  Kids can spread the quilts onto the conference table and take their time choosing the one that appeals most to them.  Wow!

At the end our our tour, we were given the ceramic tiles with words of appreciation directly from the kids.  (They are pictured in the column on the top left.) We feel very privileged for having some small part in this wonderful work and hope you will consider joining us in providing even more quilts for this amazing organization.

How to help!
We need quilts!  lots of quilts!  and fabric!
  • The quilts don't need to be complicated - look at how simple the one on the right is!
  • The kids love soft fabric.
  • They see more girls than boys and tend to receive more quilts for girls than boys.  
  • Most kids are elementary school age. 
  • They would love some quilts in neutral colors for teen boys and super-heroes for little boys.
We meet monthly at The Pine Needle. Please call for our next meeting time (503)635-1353.  
We sew and we sort fabric into “kits” for volunteers to take home.  If you cannot join us during the day, please donate a quilt or fabric.  If you have time but no fabric, come pick up a starter kit from our store.