High school senior Margaret Carpenter created Dresses for a Difference, a service project that has left an impact on nearly 100 underprivileged girls.
Inspired by two adopted Haitian children who had dresses made from pillowcases, Maggie saw how the simple garments brought the girls such joy, and she wanted to spread the love.
“I was excited that I could turn something as simple as a pillowcase into an item of clothing that could help a child in need,” she said.
As president of the Fort Bend Christrian Academy Interact Club, a service organization sponsored by the Sugar Land Rotary Club, Maggie had the perfect outlet to make the project happen. With the help of the club, she organized a drive to get the necessary supplies and was pleasantly surprised by the generous amount of donations she received.
“I used any spare time I had to sew the dresses myself,” she said. “As more and more of them piled up in my craft room at home, I was thrilled that we would have so many dresses to bless others.”
However, Maggie realized she could not do it all on her own, so she organized a service day with fellow students to finish all the sewing.
“Each student that came to donate their time made a huge contribution to the success of the project,” she said. “Justin Lewis was even able to help with his mad scissor skills.”
In all, the group was able to sew 90 unique dresses. With 55 hours invested into the project, Maggie was able to have her completed dresses distributed both internationally and locally. A portion of the dresses were shipped to Doulos Discovery School in the Dominican Republic, where 40% of people live below the poverty line.
“I also had the special opportunity to hand-deliver a large portion of them to girls in Houston,” she said.
According to the 2010-2014 American Community Survey, nearly 1 in 4 Houstonians live below poverty level.
“Most students at FBCA do not experience what it is really like to live in need, so we don’t know about these communities that could greatly benefit from our help,” Maggie said.
Maggie believes that community service does not only benefit those in need, but it also builds character, care and compassion in the individuals who serve.
“Service opportunities are abundant, even in our own community,” she said. “It doesn’t require a trip halfway across the world to make a difference. You can make a difference right here, right now. No one can help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”