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A way to give back

Girls make, donate 17  blankets to area women, girls in need

A group of 35 girls is ensuring women and girls who are in difficult situations are comforted.

Hailey Barnes and Addison Dirkes presented 17 tie blankets on Tuesday to the Freeborn County Board of Human Services. Ten are going to the Strength and Dignity program in Albert Lea, while the rest are going to the Freeborn County foster care program.

“I would like to thank you very much from Freeborn County Human Services and the county board,” said District 5 Commissioner Mike Lee. “This is very gracious. I’m in awe. This is awesome.”

District 1 Commissioner Glen Mathiason shakes the hands of girls who helped donate blankets to local organizations. — Sam Wilmes/Albert Lea Tribune

“This is very, very nice and kind of you guys.”

Barnes, 14, and Dirkes, 12, were part of the Small Town Girls dance team through Unlimited Possibilities Dance Studio, who made the blankets over an approximately six-month period.

The girls have presented to the Lions Club, Moose Club, Exchange Club of Albert Lea and Hubbard Agency, an organization that donated money for the project. Joann Fabrics donated supplies.

“It means a lot, because we hear stories about it, and it’s just, it’s really sad, so it’s just helping them in a way,” Barnes said.

“We don’t want that to happen to us, so we help them get through times,” Dirkes said.

Commissioners pose with two of the girls who donated tie blankets to local organizations Tuesday. — Sam Wilmes/Albert Lea Tribune

Their mothers, Sarah Barnes and Brandi Dirkes, said they were proud of their daughters.

“Us moms encouraged them, and they’ve been making blankets for each other, for themselves, and so we just thought they loved making them, so let’s try incorporate that into giving back into the community,” Dirkes said.

“Very proud of them both — all of the girls,” Barnes said.

“It makes you feel like you are doing something right as a parent. And a lot of the times we don’t feel that way as parents, so it’s nice to see your kids doing and giving back.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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