So far, it’s been a so-so summer for Gloria Bogan and her 12 students. Make that sew-sew.
Bogan, interpreter/translator for USD 428, is leading a weekly quilting class for 7- to 12-year-old girls at the Parent Teacher Resource Center.
“This is offered through our MPAC (Migrant Parent Advisory Committee) meetings parenting group,” Bogan said. “The girls are the daughters of the women who attend the group.”
“MPAC is a federally funded program designed to encourage migrant parents to take an active role in their children’s education,” said Tricia Reiser, director of teaching and learning. “It helps parents learn to advocate for their children and how to be responsible and culturally sensitive citizens.”
“This is the first year that we have this type of beginning quilting class,” said Bogan, an experienced quilter. “For some time I’ve had the idea that I wanted the girls to acquire a skill and build a love for an art that is not too popular in the Hispanic culture.
“So one day I talked to the mothers and all of them were very excited and happily enrolled their daughters,” she said. “I have always felt in my heart that I need it to do something for our kids – give them a skill that can benefit them later.”
The class is free to the students, although they have to buy their own fabric and supply their own sewing machines. It’s also not just for girls, although no boys have enrolled.
As the first step in creating their first quilt, Bogan took each of the girls to shop for quilt material.
“I gave them their space and the freedom to choose what they really like and we had fun picking up the fabrics,” she said, noting they chose things like “Frozen” characters, Minnie Mouse, zebra print and butterflies with glitter. She then cut all of the pieces to make better use of the time she has in class.
The Wednesday classes that can last up to three hours started last week and Bogan hopes the twin-size quilts will be ready to take home by mid-July.
“The girls are very excited. Some of them are very eager to learn and they show it putting their heart in this,” she said. “They are learning and it’s awesome to see them wanting to work on their quilt.
“Most have never dealt with a sewing machine,” Bogan explained. “Their little hands are very tense as I teach them how to feed the fabric into the sewing machine. I tell them, ‘let your hands flow.”
“In this project, we are focusing on math and we go over the measurements,” she said. “They are learning teamwork, to listen, follow instructions and clean up. They are learning discipline, too!
“I feel that always I have been a teacher without a degree. My passion is to teach what I have learned so other people can benefit, too.
“We have a larger group that is interested in these classes and some mothers have asked me to teach them,” Bogan said. “I am so excited to have such a warm welcome for this quilting class. I enjoy this so much!”