GHS Students Give Heart to Cancer Patients
Finding inspiration through her family’s grief, Greenville High School fashion design teacher Kimberly Stewart began an initiative to design, craft and deliver heart-shaped pillows to the Hunt Memorial Cancer Center. “I knew exactly what my students and I could do for breast cancer awareness month as a class project,” Kimberly stated. “I knew we could make heart-shaped pillows as a way to give back to the community and pay tribute to those who have battled breast cancer, including my mother and my sister-in-law.”
Kimberly’s mom, Jimmie Prince, lived most of her life in Greenville with her husband of 68 years, Gene Prince. “It always amazed me how my mother, born during the depression, married at the age of 13, and only holding a 10th grade education could be so smart! She could sew like no other, made drapes as a profession, and owned a business called Meadowview Dress Shop.”
The doctors discovered a tumor in Jimmie’s breast during a regular mammogram and surgery and radiation were quickly scheduled. The day of surgery, a lady came in with a large, beautifully wrapped package with a heart shaped pillow, note and prayer inside. “The note said that while making the pillow, it was prayed over by at least four people; one person that cut the fabric, the second person that stitched the pillow, the third person that stuffed it, and the fourth person who hand stitched the opening closed” remembered Kimberly. “The pillow was specifically designed in the shape of a heart in order to fit comfortably under my mother’s arm to relieve the pressure after surgery.”
Learning and honing the sewing skills she learned from her mother, Kimberly taught her fashion design students how to make the heart-shaped pillows and the initiative was born. The project has now extended into Greenville ISD’s afterschool program, ACE. The ACE-Fashion Club gives students an opportunity to be involved in enrichment opportunities that offer innovative activities that support students’ academic, social and emotional growth. Enrichment activities such as making and delivering pillows to cancer patients enable students to make connections between the real world and the classroom. The afterschool activities also include academic enrichment, challenging curriculum, and tutorial services.
Kimberly summarized the initiative and mission most eloquently, “In ACE Fashion Club, learning how to sew is a helpful life skill, but giving to others selflessly is a life lesson everyone gains from.”