One of the things I really enjoy is my volunteer work with Alberta Angel Dresses.
Alberta Angel Dresses provides tiny gowns for premature and term babies ( angels as we like to call them) who never leave the hospital with their family. These little dresses are made from donated wedding gowns from around the province. This program provides comfort for families by providing a beautiful gown for final photos and for burial services.
I started Alberta Angel Dresses almost 3 years ago with my good friends Tara and Heather. My own personal reasons for doing it were pretty selfish really, I was a doula for over 10 years and I really have a soft spot for babies. I was blessed and never had to deal with the loss of a child or grandchild, but I know people who have. I also have a love of sewing and bridal wear. A long time ago, I used to work with a bridal designer in Calgary. I loved the fabrics, the lace, the designs, the gowns…. oh the finished gowns! What I really hated was the stress of working with the very expensive lace and fabric along with trying to make something perfect for a brides special day.
I knew that sewing bridal wear was never something I wanted to do for a living, I just found it stressful. BUT this new project allowed me to work with gowns, beautiful fabrics and lace. And no Bridezillas.
Now, as I head up this project, I meet so many gracious women who are so happy to be handing over their beloved gowns for such a meaningful program, some have very personal reasons for wanting to do so. Or occasionally, some women are handing over gowns, that had bad memories and were otherwise going to be burned; they would rather have them used for good.
My love of babies, my love of gowns, my love of sewing and my desire to help a grieving parent by doing something very small and nice for them felt like just the right volunteer project for me. I get to be creative and create beautiful things, for such a good cause.
But I do not do it all alone. Alberta Angel Dresses is lucky to have Heather< who is an amazing, organized admin for us. We also have numerous dedicated volunteers who use their time and talent to sew for us. We are happy to be in so many Alberta Hospitals and have so much support for our project that started as an idea between 3 friends on Facebook messenger.
Each gown usually takes at least 20 hours to deconstruct and transform into our little Angel Dresses. But for those of us who do this, it is truly a passion and while sometimes a sad process it really is a passion and a labour of love.
So.. that is a little bit about my volunteer project that melts my heart. Some people coach hockey, some people teach adults to read. I sew Angel Dresses. I feel it is really important to have something that you love and share with others for no other reason than it makes ‘ your heart happy’, as my granddaughter Lilli likes to say!
What about you? Do you have a volunteer project that you love, and that is never a chore? Please share it in the comments.
*Here are some helpful resources*