Bethany Bradwell was awarded first place. When asked about her experience, Bethany said, "For my project, All Dolled Up, I collected pre-loved eighteen-inch dolls, fixed them up, and donated them to children in the foster care system. When I was thinking about a project to complete, this idea was very appealing to me. Helping out foster youth is near and dear to my heart because not only did my dad grow up in an orphanage and the foster care system, but my family has opened up our home to be a safe haven for children in similar situations. I have an extra special place in my heart for children in the system; I hope that the completed dolls I made and donated fill the void that the kids might have. Furthermore, I hope to improve the unfortunate circumstance by giving the children that friend that I was for my foster siblings."
To describe the details of her project, Bethany added, "The refurbishing process for just one doll takes a lot of time. The first step of disassembling each one is imperative not only to clean the dolls for the COVID-19 virus, but used dolls could also carry lice, bed bugs, scabies, and any number of unwanted germs. Disassembling one doll entails: removing its wig, de-stuffing the cloth body, removing the limbs, and then taking extra special care to clean everything. My process for making these companions for the children finishes with face brightening, dressing, and possible wig replacement to make it more unique. Overall, this is a very lengthy process."
Bethany's goal was to make one-of-a-kind, unique dolls just like how every child is special in their own right. She noted, "I wanted to provide many children with something comforting that was made just for them. Children in the foster system are going through hard times where they do not have family or friends, and many of them do not have a way to communicate with others besides whoever lives in the home with them. Each child who received one of the dolls now has a stable friend they can bring with them wherever they go." This community service project sparked Bethany's desire to continue this labor of love. She explained, "I am continuing my project refurbishing more pre-loved dolls to donate to foster youth. When I presented my project to our school's board, there was overwhelming interest from individuals who wanted to assist me in my project. While I continue working on my project, I would be more than happy to accept donations of craft supplies (acrylic paint, magic erasers, etc.), pre-loved eighteen-inch dolls, and any doll clothes. My email address is [email protected]. Please feel free to reach out to me if you wish to help me with my project. I appreciate everyone's support!" At Santa Rosa Academy, we are proud of every high school student who dedicates time, energy, and resources to serve different segments of our community while strengthening the character traits embedded in a Santa Rosa Education.