Do you know about the Orion Quilts? These quilts have been a unique part of the culture of this organization for decades. They have been provided by our United Church of Christ partners made by quilting groups in churches across the state. At their inception, they were provided to youth entering our residential facility in Neillsville or any of our group homes. Just like each child in our care, each quilt is unique and made with love. Youth in our care were encouraged to take their quilt with them when they left, regardless of the reasons for their departure.
With the closing of our predecessor agency, Sunburst Youth Homes, in 2001 and our group homes in 2016, the supply of quilts received annually has declined. But today, one church, Olivet UCC in Columbus, WI continues to make quilts for us (they also sewed masks early in the COVID-19 pandemic when we could not find PPE for staff).
On September 25th, CEO Stacey Parke did a presentation for the church during worship. As a component of the service, the quilts were blessed before they were packed up for their journey back to Orion. Some members and friends of the quilting group commented that they recall sitting under quilts, similar to those we were given, while they were being made back in 1948.
Today, the quilts can be used to identify the therapy space in a family’s home (over the kitchen table, for example), to empower a family superhero during a therapy session or skill building activity or simply to provide warmth when needed.