Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sinergia's Quilting Tradition Continues

Sinergia has developed a tradition of quilt making by parents who have participated in various programs throughout the years.  The first quilt, pictured above, was made in 1997 by parent groups that assisted in the formation of advocacy groups of parents with children with disabilities in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. A parent, Cynthia Wallace, took the lead in the design and sewing of the quilt. There are 48 patches surrounding a large square denoting the theme, “It Takes A Village”. The parents embroidered poems, messages in Spanish and English, paintings of flowers, the sun, shooting stars, houses, names of their children and parent groups. A poet, Jean Wood, also inscribed one of her poems, From A Sermon, which reflects on the importance of each one of us and how we are interwoven and inextricably linked with each other. Each patch in this original quilt became a shared message of love for one’s children, home and family and the enveloping circle of community. The quilt is displayed  at the Christine Cuadra Conference Room on the 4th floor of Sinergia.

The second quilt (immediately above and below) was started a decade after and was created by  fifteen parents with developmental disabilities who participated in the “We Are Parents Too” program, as well as others attending the Day Habilitation and Residential Programs. Under the guidance of Maria Torres Bird, a staff member who is a quilter, the parents created a colorful quilt that focused on parenthood. The project gave parents an artistic and creative expression, allowing them to relive loving memories with stories and pictures, regardless of whether they have custody of their child(ren) or not.  This has been especially important for those parents who have lost custody since it is an acknowledgment of their parenthood and their hopes of one day achieving reunification. After completion the participating parents will decide where it will be displayed.

We hope that the quilting tradition at Sinergia will continue for many decades to come since it is a visual representation of stories of families, love and community.

You might also want to read our post last year: "We Are Parents Too" quilt project.

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