Recently our church group held a week-long service event and produced thousands of items to share with individuals throughout the world. This would not have been possible without the collaboration of local non-profit organizations who helped us with materials and tools and a distribution system.
As I thought about the importance of two of these organizations who helped us, I realized that these organizations were each started by ONE woman. I want to shine a light on the two founders and another helper of these two organizations. You will see their Model of Powerful Impact.
Krysti Wright is the founder of Stitching Hearts Worldwide. As a skilled quilter, she enjoyed spending hours making beautiful quilts. One day she was inspired to do more with her skills and prayed to know how best to use them. She decided to begin by providing quilts for individuals in need. Miracles began to happen. She received a call from a woman who gave her thousands of yards of fabric. As she exhausted her own resources for quilt batting, she prayed for help. A man from another state sent her $1000. She generously took all the supplies and tools to events where attendees enjoyed making items for others in need. Word began to spread. She became known as the go-to person if you wanted to provide a service experience at your event. She set up a weekly service night at the university nearby, providing not on the projects but the supplies to make the projects. Large businesses like Nuskin called on Krysti to provide service experiences for their employees, offering to generously pay for all the supplies and other expenses that Krysti needed to grow her organization.
When I first met Krysti, she was running her non-profit out of her home. The garage was filled with shelves that were loaded with supplies and projects. There was a big trailer in her driveway which was also filled. There were tables along one side of her driveway with bins for drop off and pick up. Today Stitching Hearts Worldwide operates from a rented space, but Krysti is still hoping for a larger space where she can have projects set up for drop-in volunteers.
What is the impact of Krysti Wright? Krysti has hundreds of skilled volunteers. During Covid her sewing volunteers made over a million covid masks. Thousands of quilts, receiving blankets for babies, children’s toys and backpacks, and handmade clothing have been donated locally and to areas throughout the world including Somalia, Lebanon, Jordan, Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Ukraine. Hundreds of her quilts also went to Paradise, California after their disastrous fire.
Hayley Smith founded Lifting Hands International. As a volunteer at a refugee camp in Greece, she saw that the needs of desperate, freezing, starving refugees were not being met. Read about her beginnings here. She was determined to do better for these almost-dead individuals who needed immediate help. She started Lifting Hands International.
I first learned about Hayley Smith because she is the sister of our Mesa, Arizona cottage leader, Maren Butcher. Maren told us how Hayley was finding sponsors to pay for shipping containers filled with donated goods that would be shipped, safely received, and distributed to the people they were intended to help. Brilliant, I thought. Then I learned that her work was much more extensive than that. Today LHI has donated goods going to refugee camps throughout the world. The LHI buy-a-goat project has helped families all over the world become self-reliant.
Their International Aid program starts at a warehouse in Utah. I want to shine a light on another woman from Lifting Hands International, Traci Parsons. Traci manages the collection, sorting, packing, ordering of the shipping vehicle for pick up, and the loading of the thousands of boxes into containers. She makes sure the items are inspected to make sure they are good quality and clean or new, sorted and put into boxes that are clearly labeled. If the expiration date on the grooming item or food item is not at least a year out, it is not put into a container to be sent internationally. Traci is strict and disciplined, and the shipping companies trust her. Items that don’t meet the shipping requirements are given to local shelters. If you visit the Orem, Utah warehouse, you see mountains of boxes that are ready to be sent. Because Traci is willing to be at the warehouse five days a week, thousands of people are able to donate goods, and thousands of people are able to receive goods.
Three amazing women: Krysti Wright, Hayley Smith, and Traci Parsons. Their influence and impact extends far beyond their own homes and communities. It extends to the world and will impact others for generations. As women, we can achieve vast empowerment, maybe not like the three women above, but you can make an impact in your own way. Here’s the model:
- Seek a spiritual understanding of who you are, your innate gifts and strengths
- Seek for inspiration and ask your Higher Power to lead you
- Write down your idea, make a plan
- Be open for miraculous help
- Seek the help of loved ones – even just their acceptance of your efforts
- Find other like-minded individuals and engage their help
- Build on your successes, don’t be deterred by your failures
That is the Model of Powerful Impact!