If Jaclyn Howard's decisions as a young teen are any sign of the woman she will become, the 13 year old is aptly suited for the career she hopes to enter.
Jaclyn has made it her mission to help long-term care patients at one local hospital feel as comfortable as possible. The daughter of Jay and Joyce Howard of Martinez is sewing pillowcases for patients at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
"I've had two friends who have been long-term care patients, and I just wish I could have done more for them," said the Augusta Preparatory Day School seventh-grader.
Jaclyn's mother cuts and serges the pillowcases and Jaclyn pins, irons and stitches them. Last year, Jaclyn took a children's quilting class at Sewing Gallery in Martinez. She enjoyed it so much and did so well that her teacher asked her to join the adult class, which she has just started.
"I find it relaxing because you can just block everything else out," said Jaclyn, who enjoys playing tennis when she's not in school. "My mom chooses the fabric for the adults, and if I see a fabric I like, I pick it out for the older girls."
Augusta Prep seventh-grader Jacyln Howard has made
pillowcases that she and her mother are planning to
deliver to Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"I think the pillowcases are beautiful and are obviously made with a tremendous amount of care and attention to detail," said Janet Howser, coordinator of volunteer services at MCG. "Each one is unique and will truly help to brighten the day of our patients. I think it's wonderful that a young teenager would think of doing such a project and take the time to make a difference for people she doesn't even know.
"These things add a touch of thoughtfulness for (our patients) and lets them know we realize they are going through a difficult time."
Jaclyn, who goes by Jackie at school, is always eager to help others, said her math teacher, Suzie Mull.
"The enrichment work she does in my classroom is for her benefit," Mull said. "But she also spends her extra time working for the benefit of others. Academically, she is a model to her peers. In terms of citizenship, she is a model to everyone - peer or elder."
It's clear that Jaclyn wants to help others. She has participated in the local It's Spooky to Be Hungry food drive and also took part in a fun run to Santa Claus, Ga., where she was among a group who delivered toys to needy children.
Joyce Howard, like all parents, is quick to admit that she's proud of her daughter. "She does have a big heart and a wonderful spirit," she said. "In fact, she wants to become a Methodist minister."
"I was reading my Bible one day, and I just felt like the Lord showed me a verse that he wanted me to work for him," said Jaclyn, who attends Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta.
Jaclyn is working to earn the Presidential Service Award, in which pupils must complete between 50 and 100 hours of volunteer work in a 12-month period in order to receive a pin, certificate and letter from the president. But those who know Jaclyn know that her volunteer work won't end after she completes the mandated hours.
"Once we get the project going, we want to get other young girls involved and possibly include other hospitals," Howard said of Jaclyn's pillowcase project. "We know of a couple of girls at school, including a third-grader, who can sew. Our biggest challenge is funding."
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