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If you’re interested in starting a local chapter of It’s My Very Own, your first step is to check if there is a local chapter in your area. If there is not currently a chapter in your local area, your next step will be to contact Susan Schnell – After you send Susan an email to let her know you’re interested, the below steps are a helpful overview of what’s involved with getting an IMVO chapter started in your area.

Let us ship you your own “Getting Started Kit”. We request a $45 donation to cover its cost. Make a donation here and indicate your request in the donation comment box. Our “Getting Started Kit” contains all the materials to make a bag, all the materials to make a quilt top, 12 color brochures, 10 bag labels, 10 letter to child postcards and an instruction manual.

Gather Your Team

It is important to have support to sustain an ongoing active program.  Many of the roles listed below can be staffed by the same person but it is great to involve as many people as possible.

    1. Church, Civic group or neighborhood club
    2. People who sew or are willing to learn
      1. Quilters or Quilting Guild (Often you can team up with a local Quilting Guild to help augment your own quilt and bag making.)
      2. Basic sewing for bags
    3. Fundraiser, grant writer, speaker
    4. Administrator or director
    5. Clerical support
    6. Shopper – this is the fun part!
Connect with Your Local Agency

The agency in your area may be called Child Protective Services (CPS) or Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).  When you approach the agency have  a demonstration bag with you so they can visualize what you are providing. Be ready with the time frame in which you are able to provide the bags in all the age ranges to get started.  Take a Memorandum of Understanding [see manual, starting at page 36] with you for them to sign. They may need to take it to a director for approval.

It can be difficult to reach someone at the agency by phone when you initially start an IMVO chapter.   Instead, go to the local agency, bag in hand, and ask to speak to a social worker.  Describe the program and show them the bag.  It is fun to see the appreciation on their faces.  

Always ask permission if you wish to include bible stories and/or bibles.  Including them without permission can jeopardize the whole program. Many agencies allow them (especially in the bible belt of the USA) but other areas (i.e. North East USA) may not.  

Gather Your Materials

The basic items included in the bags are as follows:

  • Quilt
  • Hygiene Products
  • Letter to the child
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Flashlights

For a more detailed list of items to include in the bags click here.  

Other materials:  

  • Fabric and other items for making the bags and quilts
  • Labels for your quilts and bags
  •  Thank you notes and receipts for donors

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