Wake County Extension and Community Association – A Fateful and Faithfull Collaboration

— Written By

Anyone who is familiar with the Extension and Community Association (ECA) of Wake County knows the incredible caliber of informal education and volunteer work these members perform – crossing the spectrum of Family and Consumer Sciences from quilting to prevention of Human Trafficking. Over the past year, our 91 members have donated more than 56,036 hours – or the equivalent of $1,311,557 to our communities in Wake.

This autumn, Debra Ingold, and her fellow Cary ECA Club members, took the initiative to apply for a $1,000 NC ECA Innovative grant, funded through NC Family and Consumer Sciences and Extension and Community Foundation. Partnering with the Capital Quilters’ Guild and NC Correctional Institution for Women, the desired goal is to support, assist and sponsor a basic ongoing sewing class for participants who meet the behavioral standards set forth by the prison system.

The project promotes both sewing and non-sewing life skills for these women such as: goal setting, communication, follow-through and, finally, the transference of their skills and knowledge gained to other aspects of their lives. The basic projects are to create a nine-patch pillow, entirely by hand, followed by a lap size quilt. As their build their skills, women can make addition quilts and pillows for their family members (often their children), this sometimes being the only gift the family member will receive from their incarcerated loved one. In addition, there are plans for intentional efforts to donate these items to various charities giving them the opportunity to give to and be a part of the community.

At the core of this alliance is building pride and skills in these women – creating a sense of self-worth, a future sense of purpose and to improve the quality of their lives.

Volunteering for this project does not take extraordinary sewing skill; however – it does take dedication and a strong sense of commitment to take one step at a time in creating a work of art – a work of the heart.