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  • 1. One in every eight babies in the U.S. is born premature, and I was part of that statistic. Iwas born six and a half weeks early with underdeveloped lungs and a low chance of survival. Hi,I am Danielle Chiavelli, and today I will be talking to you about my contribution to prematurebabies; I made hats for the pre-term babies as well as collected money for the March of Dimes. Prior to beginning my project, I researched my topic of premature babies. Through myresearch, I learned more about pre-term babies and the early stages of their difficult lives. Idiscovered that every baby leaves the hospital with a hat on his or her head; however, none ofthose hats are purchased. All of the hats are donated. After I learned this information, I decidedthat I wanted to help this cause. I actually created two products to display my work; I kitted 100 hats for prematurebabies, and I raised over $100 for the March of Dimes. I chose to make 100 hats because myresearch taught me that about 100 premature babies are born at Northside Cherokee annually,and I donated my hats to that hospital. As I mentioned before, I chose these products because Iwas born premature, and someone made a hat for me, which I still have today. Similarly,somebody also donated money to the March of Dimes that funded the research to create thetechnology that helped save my life. I felt the need to help preemies just as another giving person had helped me. First, Icollected money for the March of Dimes by going door to door in my neighborhood becausenone of the stores that I went to would permit me to stand outside and ask for donations.Creating the hats was much more time consuming. Each hat takes about an hour to make with aloom. This video will allow you to further understand the process of knitting a hat. [SHOWVIDEO] The video that I created shows a quick step by step overview of how I made the hats.Casting on is the first step. To cast on, I begin by wrapping the yarn around the peg. Then, I
  • 2. continue to wrap the yarn around all of the pegs. When I am done, I push down the loops that Imade. The second step shows how I make the cuff of the hat. To make the cuff, I fold the hatover itself and put the bottom loops on the pegs. When that part is done, I lift the bottom loopsup and over the top loops. Then, I push the reaming loops down. Next, I have to make the middleof the hat, which is the third step. Similarly to what I did earlier, I push down the loops. Then, Iwrap the yarn around the pegs. This time, I pull the bottom loop up and over the top loop. After Icompleted this step on all of the pegs, I again push the remaining loops down. The final step isfinishing the hat. To finish the hat, I cut the yarn. Then, I cut a piece of yarn that is long enoughto wrap around all of the pegs. I put the yarn through all of the loops of yarn that are alreadythere. Similarly to what I did in the beginning, I take all of the loops off of the pegs. Finally, Ipull the extra yarn tight, tie the knot, and turn the hat right side out. Each hat takes about an hourto make with a loom. I chose a project facilitator whom I thought would be able to help me throughout thislong process; my facilitator is Cynthia Meisner. I chose her because she is a labor and deliverynurse at Northside Hospital, and she has experience around all sorts of babies that were just born.However, she was not able to help me as much as I would have liked. Mrs. Meisner helped meby sharing some information about her job and the jobs of other nurses around her, but I did notget to see her very often. We both have extremely busy schedules, so it was difficult to meetfrequently. This was one of the challenges that I faced. Another one of my biggest challengeswas the fact that no stores would let me collect money in front of their entrances. I have seenseveral other groups collecting money in front of these stores before. For example, Kroger wouldnot even give me the time of day even though I have seen people asking for donations in front of
  • 3. this business before. This part of my process was very disheartening because nobody seemed towant to help me help others. From this project, I have learned that I have good commitment skills as well as a strongwill to help others. However, I also learned that it is difficult to find time to work on otherprojects outside of school, sports, and work because there are only so many hours in the day.With soccer every day after school, I found this project to be very difficult to complete. Mrs.Meisner helped me come to a conclusion. I do not want to pursue a career in neonatal nursing.She told me that the job can be very saddening. I know I will get attached to all of the babies,and I will be heartbroken if something happens to any of them. I cannot be in a career field thatmakes me upset to go to work every day. While completing my project, I also shadowed aspeech therapist. Shadowing her made me quickly realize that this was the career choice for me. Overall, this project helped me learn a lot about myself; however, I also learned moundsabout premature babies. I would have never had the opportunity for this learning stretch if I wasnot assigned to do this project. Unlike many of my peers, I actually enjoyed completing mysenior project. I enjoyed knitting hats in order to help premature babies. I challenge all of you todo some form of community service in the near future. You may be surprised how good it willmake you feel about yourself. Thank you so much for your time, and I hope you have enjoyedeverything that I have shared with you today.