About The Brightest Little Star Project
Sometimes the feeling of community is difficult to create in large cities like Berkeley, California.
The Brightest Little Star project is doing its part to change that – at least in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. The project has donated over 2000 small handmade memory blankets that are presented to parents who have lost a little one.
The project is directed by Suzan Steinberg, owner of Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley and founded by Amy Reid, a parent, whose son, Jonathan passed away in the NICU in 2001.
Statement by Amy Reid
"This project was inspired by my son, Jonathan who was born on May 31, 2001 at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. We were blessed to have him with us for two days before he passed away peacefully in our arms in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The cozy but worn hospital blanket that he was cradled in is still a great comfort to me. Since I received so much comfort from my son’s blanket, I wanted to find a way to reach out to provide comfort to other mothers. Over the past three years, thanks to the help of family, friends, and my church, we have given the NICU at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center over 2000 handmade baby blankets and 1000 scent dolls.
"Our hope is that parents who receive these precious blankets and scent dolls will realize there are others out there in the community that recognize what a tremendous loss they have suffered, and want to offer a small bit of comfort at a difficult time.”
Larger blankets in the same star flannel fabric are also given to babies in the NICU who are expected to be there for several months. After a newspaper article was published on the project last year, a mother’s group in the community sent in a large donation in memory of two children in their group. The donation was used to purchase fabric to make at least 200 more blankets. The donation went twice as far thanks to the support of Suzan and her store.
Suzan is "dedicated to attract more volunteers and making this a long term community project for the NICU at Alta Bates. Our on-going goal is to have a blanket or quilt for each of the over 1200 newborns that are cared for each year.”
“With every tiny star we appliqué on each blanket we hope to stitch the community together. My hope is that our community service project will bring together women from all over the East Bay and allow them to grow closer by sharing about their “little stars” and perhaps the memory of some of the tiniest ones who now shine down upon them,” said Reid.
The Project is looking for sewists to join them!
Please join us in sewing flannel blankets and scent dolls for little babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.
We will provide the fabric for all the volunteers who come to help us. All skill levels are welcome. These simple, soft flannel blankets offer so much comfort to parents who are going through the stress of caring for a very sick infant or who have lost a little one.
Our goal is to have a blanket, quilt or scent doll for each of the over 1200 newborns that are cared for each year.
For more information on how you can contribute to help keep the project going, make a donation in memory of a loved little one, or help sew, please contact our store, call us at 510-845-6106, or email Suzan at email@example.com
More about Brightest Little Star Project:
Clinical Nurse Specialist at Alta Bates about the blanket project:
“I am the Clinical Nurse Specialist at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We have approximately 8000 births each year and say that we deliver a kindergarten class each day - about 20 -22 births. Although the majority of these newborns are healthy infants, there are, unfortunately, about 1200 newborns that are cared for in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit each year. Many of these infants are premature, others may be admitted with infections, or lung problems and a few infants have life limiting disorders.
We were the recipients of a very generous donation of handcrafted blankets last year, made by teenagers from a local church. The champion of this project is a mother whose infant was cared for in our NICU. Through the generosity of this group we provided blankets to many families of infants in the NICU and especially to those whose infants were critically ill, and for whom their life expectancy was limited. These blankets provided comfort for both infants and parents who received a tangible gift and reminder of their precious infant
Most parents do not anticipate that their infant will be in the NICU and will often feel significant stress and anxiety. The blankets can help to normalize an otherwise frightening and challenging experience, by providing a more "home like" touch to their baby's environment.”
"It has been such a privilege to work with Amy on this project. I am very excited about reaching out to volunteers beyond her church. This is a valuable and essential way of giving back to the community. We have many bolts of beautiful flannel waiting to be made up into precious blankets for the babies in the NICU at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. Please come join us in giving these generous gifts to the parents and babies.”