December 10, 2019
GC Honor Society Participates In Swaddling Project
By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, GCHD
Cutline: "Swaddle a Child in Care and Community." Pictured left to right are Health Officer Bob Stephens; Karen Keefer, Early Care Programs; Anna James, Phi Theta Kappa advisor; and students Tierra Jones, Emily Nichols, Zachary Friend, Destiny Jackson, and Charity Moser.
Students from Garrett College visited the Garrett County Health Department and completed a volunteer project with Early Care Programs just before Thanksgiving.
Garrett College's Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society, the official honor society for all two-year colleges, assisted staff from the health department to complete a community service project called "Swaddle a Child in Care and Community."
"The project was absolutely great," said PTK member Tierra Jones. "It was an awesome opportunity, and I was so grateful to be able to participate. I think it's something that should be done again."
What is swaddling? It's the art of snugly wrapping a baby in a blanket for warmth and security. In addition to helping the baby stay warm, swaddling can keep the baby from being disturbed by their own startle reflex, and may even help them keep calm.
Before getting down to the business of the projects, students toured the Health Department and received a quick overview of the available programs and services.
They learned about the Early Care Programs, which include a wide variety of programs that help pregnant women and families in Garrett County. One component of their service is to help parents prepare and adjust to having a new baby. And, as one aspect of their job, staff members teach parents techniques for quickly calming fussy babies by using the swaddling technique.
"Unfortunately, most parents in our program cannot afford to buy a swaddling blanket," said Maria Friend, the Director of Early Care Programs. "The blankets are larger than normal receiving blankets and more expensive. Several years ago we started buying fabric, cutting it to the correct size, and using a special sewing machine called a serger to finish off the edges." By doing this the program could give parents a free swaddling blanket and show, by example, how families can "stretch their financial dollars" and end up with a comparable product.
"It was great for them to get the tour and have the swaddle lesson," said PTK advisor Anna James. "It was good because it wasn't just a project where they just did the work. They got to learn at the same time."
In addition to learning how to swaddle a baby, and why it helps to calm them, students assisted in cutting fabric to make swaddling blankets, and learned how to use the serger. Students helped cut and finish 36 blankets which are now ready to be distributed as needed to newborns and their families.