MOLINE -- C.S. Lewis comparisons keep hanging around The Wardrobe clothing ministry run by Riverside United Methodist Church.|
The ministry was created a couple years ago and named The Wardrobe in honor of the book ''The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.''
A community garden added earlier this year in The Wardrobe's' backyard, at 2418 41st St., was named The Agape Gardens, a term Mr. Lewis described in ''The Four Loves'' as a Greek Word meaning spiritual love.
Next, comes a young hero named Aislin Geedey, 11, of Rock Island, whose name is similar to the name of Aslan, the lion character in Mr. Lewis' ''Narnia'' books.
Aislin recently waged a campaign that collected 737 clothing items for children of all ages, from infants to teens. It helped her earn a Girl Scout Bronze award, the highest award a Junior scout can achieve.
Aislin means "peace and inspiration" in Celtic, her mother, Dara Wegman-Geedey, said.
But the Aslan coincidence is ''wonderful fun,'' Aislin said, adding that she's a Leo, ''and my school's mascot is a lion.''
Aislin is a sixth-grader at Rivermont Collegiate in Bettendorf, and a member of Riverside Methodist.
She enlisted the help of fellow Rivermont Lions to conduct the clothing drive, an idea she came up with during the Summer Splash vacation Bible school at her church. Making hygiene kits for a local domestic-violence shelter was one of the Bible school projects, she said.
But Aislin wanted to do more, so she contacted Christian Care Domestic Violence Shelter volunteer coordinator Kris Houghton.
She learned that what the shelter most needed was children's clothing, ''because often people leave domestic-violence situations with just the clothes on their back,'' Aislin wrote in a list of steps she had to submit to the Girl Scouts as part of the Bronze Award requirements.
Connecting her church's clothing ministry to the work done at Christian Care's shelter was one of the coolest parts of her project, she said. So was holding a collection-box decorating party with friends for her birthday, and having them bring clothing donations instead of presents, she said.
Aislin also developed a voucher system for people from the shelters to use to get clothes for free. That Wardrobe normally charges $1 per bag of clothes, but the vouchers allow shelter shoppers to get five bags for free, Aislin said. She designed vouchers on her computer, and made 100 copies.
Kris McMillan, the church's outreach coordinator and The Wardrobe overseer, helped Aislin create the vouchers.
''It warms my heart that Aislin was able to see the need of the community,'' Ms. McMillan said. ''Her project, from start to finish, truly was fueled by the goodness of her heart, and to realize that any act of kindness can ripple out in countless ways that you may never know about. I feel she is an inspiration to all, no matter what age.''
It took Aislin four months to complete the project. "Omigosh, I can't believe we collected so much stuff.I thought we'd collect 200 to 300 things, but wound up with 737,'' she said.
Aislin wasn't expecting to get all the attention she got, such as a large story written by the Girl Scouts and put on their website."All I expected was a handshake,'' she said.
The project also taught Aislin ''that I can probably do anything that I set my mind on and really want to get accomplished,'' she said. ''I also learned that I can't do everything by myself.''
Her mother acted as adviser/coordinator of the project, and her father, Kevin Geedey, did a fair amount of the driving, moving boxes of clothes and other related tasks. A core group of eight school friends also helped Aislin.
''But the whole school got involved,'' she said, adding that her school plans to conduct the drive each fall.
The project taught Aislin a lot about domestic violence and what shelters do ''in an age-appropriate manner,'' Ms. Wegman-Geedey said.
''The thing that helped me finish my project was knowing that I would feel horrible if I let all those people down that I had promised to try and help with my project,'' Aislin said.
''You feel so happy and proud of yourself for doing something that took a lot of effort and other people benefited from your work.''
Coal valley, IL Details
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