Thursday, April 13, 2006

Long, but please read!!

I have what I think is a good idea, and I want everyone to sound off and give me any needed suggestions for how to improve upon it. Most of you know that our first child was a full-term still born little girl named Lola Jane. This June would have been her 2nd birthday, and her life and death still resonate deeply with us. When she died, a volunteer with the hospital came and took dental molds of her hands and feet, a lock of her hair, hand and feet prints, and took pictures of her. She presented all of this in a box which we hold dear, along with the dress, blanket, and hat that she wore when we held her. Many of these things are framed, and some are displayed in the scrapbook that I made for Lola. These are the only tangible reminders that we have of our little girl, and I am constantly grateful for them, and for the saintly woman who graciously collected them for us. I am so grateful that I could go through the cathartic experience of scrapbooking our experience with Lola, and I don’t know what I would have done without it- it was such a healing experience. Because of all of this, I have decided that I want to create mini albums for parents who have lost babies. I am proposing this to the woman who handles the bereavement program to see if she could implement it with what she already does. They would be simple 8x8 pages (I think) that would be complete and ready for the parents to adhere the pictures of their baby, as well as their hand and feet prints etc. The reason I want to do this is because some parents may not have the means or skill to scrapbook, but would still appreciate having one. There may be some parents who simply can’t bring themselves to do it themselves, but would still treasure having the memories of their baby. I know how priceless Lola’s things and memories are to me, and I don’t want anyone to miss their child’s things. The problem of course, is that we are nearly destitute. (half-joking, half-truth) So my plan is this- I know the owner of Pebbles in my Pocket (a local scrapbook store and international supply company) and a part-owner of a local direct sales scrapbooking company, Leaving Prints. (where I used to work) I am going to approach them as well as 2 other local shops to see if they could make charitable donations of supplies. I figured they could donate damaged paper that I could still cut down and use, and any other damaged product that is unsellable, but still salvageable. That’s a start. I am going to write a letter about Lola’s story and approach them in person, showing them Lola’s album. I would probably still need other supplies, like albums or page protectors. So I need your input. Any input would be appreciated, like who else could I approach? Where else could I receive donations or materials? Anything would be helpful. And for you fellow scrapbookers, what size do you think would be best- 6x6 or 8x8? I could obviously get a lot more albums using 6x6, but I don’t want to skimp at all. These albums should be simple, but beautiful. Sound off.
p.s. Because of the high birth rate in our area, there is also a very high mortality rate. I would be very busy keeping up with demand, and if it takes off, may organize a charitable crop to get help making albums!

16 comments:

kim said...

I think you already have a good start formulating your plan, I'm not sure I have much to add. What a wonderful idea!

michelle said...

What a fabulous idea, Jess. You have so much energy! I love that you would take this on. It seems like it would be a really big project. It makes me feel overwhelmed, but you are just diving right in. I'm not sure about the size -- 6x6 or 8x8 would both be good. I'm guessing that people that don't scrapbook will probably just be using 4x6 prints. let me know how I can help!

Robin said...

Jessie, you amaze me. What a great idea. I honestly wish I had more input, but alas, outside of LP, I don't know a whole lot about retail scrapbook suppliers :( I suppose you could always try even big retail places, like Michaels or Roberts for donations? And if you do have a charity crop, I would love to take part in it - though my skills are definitely beginner, I would love to help you out with this (:

Hannah said...

You already know I LOVE this idea, but I thought of a few more things after talking to you this afternoon, so I am glad you posted!

In addition to sharing your experience and showing Lola's album, maybe make a "demo album" of the ones you will be making that way the stores can see exactly what you are doing and how beautiful they will be. Another idea is to take a little portfolio of your work so they know you are as good as you are and all that and not an amiture doing the work.

I would ask for albums as well as paper and whatnot, you never know what someone is willing to donate. I would seriously go to the scrapbook section in the phone book and contact every store too, what do you have to lose, well except time...

I would also ask Brenda at Pebbles for companies to contact for supplies. I mean you might be able to contact a local album company like Fredricks directly about album donations. Try to go to the source of the products if you know they are a local company.

When contacting the companies, or even in your letter, I would stress that this is an ongoing thing and that ongoing donations are needed, or if they can't donate at this time, see if you can contact them in the future?

And I am still torn on the whole 6x6 or 8x8 thing- I mean space over cost is a hard thing. Maybe see where the donations take you and decide what size you have enough things to make.

That was a mouth full, sorry!

Katie said...

You don't know me, I know amy m. I had a similar idea for the nicu that took care of my baby. I also have some very close friends, a sister in law etc. Who have also had stillborns the last year. So, I can really understand how much this will mean to other women.

Another thought would be, maybe give the company the idea of a page of the month type thing. This way you could get some outside help, like you said you may never know who has also been in your shoes. Maybe see if they would be willing to sell the kits for a discount and people could make them and bring them back. Or, let people know that you are collecting pages for these types of books. You could make up a demo, than others buy the supplies.
Good Luck, I don't live in Utah, but I would love to contribute, since I was never able to do anything, and still think about it all the time.

Heather said...

Oh, I'm so sorry! I did appreciate your email. Very much. I've been on vacation this last week and a bit uncommunicative. I would like for us to keep in touch. We have this awful bond of loss in common and sharing the burden makes it lighter.

I am looking forward to chatting with you soon.

Angela said...

How about holding a charity crop to raise money for your cause? I think you could raise a lot of money and even publicity this way...which could earn you more donations from other companies.

Personally, I would choose 6x6. YOu can still make beuatiful, elegant albums this way and save on money...4 pages out of 1 sheet of paper. ;)

dpw said...

I love your idea! Sometimes it's hard to find meaningful service to give; this idea is definitely meaningful--not just perfunctory. I agree with Angela about the 6x6 size. I think if you're relying on donations then you are obligated to make the most of what you get. Also, I think a 6x6 album is small and sweet, easy to tuck into a bag or purse. I don't think you're compromising on quality to go with the smaller size.

As far as donations go, I've found that you have nothing to lose by simply asking! I've worked on the Silent Auction committee of my local PTA and, once you get over feeling uneasy about asking for donations, it's easy! All they can say is "No." Keep in mind that many people and companies would love to find meaningful ways to channel time and resources for a worthy project, especially if the company gets a free mention/acknowledgement out of the bargain.

You go, girl!

Jill said...

What a great and thoughtful idea Jessie. I was thinking you could approach Creating Keepsakes, Making Memories, and any other Utah-based companies that would have excess product and the money to spare. I'd also approach all the scrapbook stores in Utah, they must have tons of extra stuff they could donate.

Good luck and let me know what I can do to help.

Amie said...

Very awesome Jessie! I also have a couple of friend who have had full term still borns and I know how precious their keepsakes are to them. I don't have any great ideas, I think you pretty well covered everything, but would be happy to help if you need me. I follow directions well. I vote for the 8x8 size, I just love that size. If you either had damaged paper or used the rest to do the other layout would much be wasted? Good luck, what a tribute to your sweet Lola.

Beatrix Kiddo said...

Jess, what a cool idea! You're a genuis and can definitely sell the idea.

rmt said...

What a beautiful idea, Jessie. I think that a scrapbook would mean so much to people who have lost their precious babies. I know the owners of Keeping Memories Alive in SF, and I think that they would be willing to donate, or at the very least let you buy supplies at cost. I agree that more companies would be willing to donate if they think that they will get free publicity out of it. I would love to help in any way I can. Just let me know. What a great way to honor Lola.! She must be so proud to have a mother like you. Oh, and I vote for the 6x6 albums.

Bridgitta said...

I love this idea! I agree with everyone else that this would be a wonderful tribute to Lola. I don't know you said it but I liked the idea of having a charity scrapbooking night. Maybe one of the companies like Pebbles that does all night scraping could donat a percentage to this charity. I would pay a little extra for the cause. I have a frind that does stamin up and she would probably hose something like that. Also, have you asked at the hospital of any non profit organizations that might give you money for supplies? And, lastly, my vote is for the 6x6 albums. They are small enough to carry around with you but nice enough to display in a home. I would be honored if I could do soething to help out!

Bridgitta said...

I am embarrased at all the mispelled words and grammer mistakes! Sorry....
~Bridget

Anne said...

To add to Bridgitta's comment, I used to work at the call center at Stampin' Up. They used to have an employee store (well they probably still do) where we could purchase slightly damaged products for cheap(I got a LOT of paper there for penny a piece). They might be willing to donate those products for your cause. You might want to try contacting their headquarters, located in Riverton, to see if this is something they'd be interested in. Best of luck to you.

P.S. I'm a total stranger but really enjoy reading your blog. Your creativity is very inspiring!

mom said...

Great idea!! I love all the comments too. Joanne (my employee who needs to have her raise revoked at your suggestion) gave me a book for my birthday written by the owner of Hobby Lobby! It is about his rise to success-he started out with $600.00 and it is now an 8 billion dollar business! It's an easy read and in fact alitte boring at times, but alot of his success is based on fine Christlike principles and attitudes and basic kindness. I say write him a letter and tell him your idea, I'll bet he'll send you a donation!! By the way, I had a serious talk with Joanne regarding her tardiness and my disappointment in her not keeping her promise to be on time EVERYDAY. I was so frustrated and I suddenly found myself telling her she needed to repent! I thought she could relate to this more than just making another promise to be on time! So far, her track record has been much better! Yea! The owner of Hobby Lobby is David Green. Go for it!

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