BOUNTIFUL -- Brightly colored fleece hats will provide warmth for homeless teens thanks to ninth-grade students from Bountiful Junior High School.
For the past four years, students in Janet Eggers' beginning sewing classes have used their free time to create unique fleece hats for needy youth. Budding seamstresses and tailors made stocking caps, beanies, hair hats, drawstring caps and jester hats.
They then donated the products of their hard work to the youth Drop-In Center for the Volunteers of America in Salt Lake City.
The center provides a place for homeless youth to access basic necessities, such as showers, laundry, and meals.
They are also offered the education needed to move past homelessness and become self-sufficient.
Several hours go into the careful construction of each hat, and often more than one student contributes to each project.
"It was fun to make them, knowing that you're going to give it to someone and that it will make them happy," said Stephanie Earnshaw, 13.
Each student was required to first make their own fleece hat as an assignment for the class. Once they finished their own project, they were given the option to help make another hat to donate.
The students pay a small class fee that provides the materials for their individual projects, but all of the material for the hats for the homeless is donated. Family members of students, friends of the school, and also Eggers donate materials needed to make hats for the homeless.
"We take whatever we can get," said Eggers.
Courtney Hodges, 15, chose to give her personal hat to her mother and then helped make more hats for the homeless.
"I chose the material and pattern that I would want myself for the hat for the homeless," said Hodges.
Cierra Martin, 14, said that her brother wears the hat she made for herself more than she does.
Students said that they like the personality and warmth that the hats provide.
Now that the class has donated several hats to homeless teens, they are beginning to make hats for needy elementary school students.
Eggers is not yet sure where she will take the hats, but knows she will find a place where they are needed.
She also teaches her eighth-grade students how to make rag quilts, which are then donated to a domestic violence women's shelter.
"It is nice for them to see they have a skill that can benefit other people," said Eggers. "Most of them are very eager and willing to do something like this."