By Rev. Dorothy S. Boulware, Special to the AFRO
There’s no end to the frustration people feel in the light of constant bullying and violence children experience in school as well as in communities. One 10-year-old has a plan to put a stop to it and she’s asking for everyone’s help.
For almost two years, Winter Noel Smith has been making and collecting prayer squares from everyone who’d give her one. She’ll use 10,000 of them to make a gigantic blanket to present to Congress, to implore them to use their power to make the country a safer place for children.
“When she was around six years old, children teased her about her hair,” her mother, Alexis Smith said. “When she wore it in bush balls they called her Minnie Mouse and when it was hanging straight, they called her Annie.”
These names hurt her feelings and made her cry, so she knows what other children experience when they are bullied by their peers.
She began to experience low self esteem so her mother enrolled her into a modeling class, along with reassuring her of her beauty inside and out.
“But she didn’t complete the class because she got modeling jobs right away,” Alexis Smith said, “which was a real boost to her self esteem.”
But her success in modeling didn’t stop Winter Noel from caring about her peers.
Thus the blanket.
“First you say a prayer,” Winter Noel instructed. “Then you take fabric and make a square in it, and when you have enough of these, you can make a blanket.”
The prayers are confidential and all inclusive, “whatever you feel compelled to talk to God about,” Winter Noel said.
Her squares have already made quite an impact. She has shown them and collected some at community events. She’s gotten the attention of passersby including Girl Scouts every time she’s had a vending table including a recent KidPreneur Expo. Everyone wants to submit a square and be included in the blanket.
She’s garnered so much attention that one of her squares is exhibited at the Education Building until May 1, and another is in the Banneker-Douglass Museum, both in Annapolis.
Her mother feels much of what her daughter is accomplishing is due to the social justice curriculum of the Monarch School Winter Noel attends.
“They’re learning about service and empathy and compassion,” Alexis Smith said. “They even give them awards to reinforce their positive behavior.”
She’s tempted to make an award for her daughter. “A perseverance badge. She’s relentless and never gives up.”
Prayer squares can be sent to Winter Noel Smith, Love United Christian Church, 7207 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, Glen Burnie, Md. 21060.