Interact Club Members Turning T-shirts into Something Special
Batavia High School Interact Club Members are now helping dress children around the globe.
Recently, BPS101 parent Roland Imes and his friend, Geri Lemley, a seasoned seamstress, showed BHS “Interactors” how to measure and cut pants for children out of a basic T-shirt.
Mr. Imes explained that the garments not only help children in third-world countries keep warm and build self worth, but also protect them. He said that in some countries, children with little to no clothing can appear to be neglected, making them easier targets for abuse.
Mr. Imes first heard about Mrs. Lemley from his neighbor who told him how she was voluntarily making making hundreds of dresses and pants for children around the world, but needed help. Mr. Imes knew about the BHS Interact Club through his daughter, who is a member, and reached out to club sponsor, Haley Nickolaou.
“We really wanted to do an international project, so this is a perfect fit,” said Mrs. Nickolaou. “We collected more than 200 leftover and outdated T-shirts from Batavia High School sports teams and fellow clubs in just a few weeks. Children thousands of miles away could soon be wearing ‘Bulldog Pride’ pants!”
Mrs. Lemley got her start making pants (or “britches” as she lovingly call them) out of T-shirts and dresses out of pillow cases about a year and a half ago and donates them to local churches with connections in various countries.
“I don’t sleep at night, so sewing really helps me,” explained Mrs. Lemley who has made about 900 garments since starting this project 18 months ago.
To help Mrs. Lemley get even more garments into the hands of children in need, Interact Club Members are busy cutting the 200-plus collected T-shirts during club meetings to get them ready for Mrs. Lemley to sew and ship. So far students have cut 45 shirts with three more workshops in place to continue the prep process.
With this new international project, BHS students are getting another valuable opportunity to live the Interact Club mission, “Service Above Self. “