• Memorial Blanket 2022


    Photo (c) Diane Nilan 2022DC Blankets

    The Memorial Blanketart display on 12/21/22 in front of the Reflecting Pool at the US Capitol. 

    1,179 handmade blankets from knitters, crocheters, and quilters across the country blanketed the Capitol lawn. They were made by strangers for strangers, a true work of love.

    The blankets are a stark reminder of people who live and die on the streets of the US every year. 

    Following the one-day event, blankets were donated to people in need.

    The project was sponsored by the Charles Bruce Foundation.

    Photo (c) Diane Nilan 2022IL Blankets

    Quilts in the foreground were submitted by HEAR US. "These Little Piggies are Homeless" photos by Pat Van Doren are in the center of the quilts that were finished by volunteers in Illinois.

    Babies' and toddlers' footprints from 3 North Carolina programs serving young homeless children surround the Piggies images.

    The larger red, white and blue quilt has the iconic image of "Charlie" in the center. This represents the decades' long Illinois involvement in strenghtening educational rights for homeless students. 

    WATCH: Memorial Blanket photo collectionby Diane Nilan   

    WATCH: End of the Memorial Blanket Day by Diane Nilan 

     Washington Post, 12/22/22

    Handmade blankets for homeless crafted with ‘love’
    come to Capitol Hill

     The Progressive Magazine, 12/29/22

    On a Mission to End Homelessness, and Spread Warmth

    EARLIER COVERAGE of the HEAR US Memorial Blanket Activities: 

    ►Watch this NCTV news segmentabout the unique blankets being made in Illinois!

    ► Diane worked with 3 North Carolina communities to create Piggies blankets for babies using Pat Van Doren's iconic "These Little Piggies are Homeless" image.

    22 NC piggies FINAL small
    Here's a 1-minute TV newsclipshowing this heartwarming process.





    ► Here are the news storiesabout the Memorial Blanket Project

    ►Here's an adorable look at a "Piggies" event. (2-min)






    Restore Educational Access for Children who are Homeless
    Custodial parents without resources are lucky if they can make fragile arrangements for their children before heading to jail.

    Temporary caregivers--friends or relatives pressed into service at the last moment--might live away from where the family resided. Children at the caretakers may unnecessarily face loss of their school--their only familiar environment. Or the new school may refuse to admit the children because they are not "residents" of the new district.

    Often schools don't recognize that students with a custodial incarcerated parent may fall under the definition of homeless. Parents or caregivers typically do not identify the children's living situation as 'homeless.' Children, lives filled with chaos and pain, lose stability and security of their school at a time when they need stability the most. This loss intensifies their trauma, jeopardizing their educational success.

    REACH, a project of HEAR US, (based on the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Improvements Act) guides parents in jails and prisons to advocate for their children from behind bars:

    • A fast-paced 11-minute video  "REACH-Connect Your Children With Education" is available on the HEAR US YouTube page for free. It explains, in simple language, what the children's educational rights are and how the parent can help their children get into school. It's geared to inmates but is a perfect McKinney-Vento homeless education intro for staff and volunteers, as well as educators. 


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