Press Release for Immediate Release
Contact Jeanna Som
Pat LaMarche

SPY Campers to Put Personal Stories onto Fabric Panels for Memorial Blanket
Kids’ Artwork Panels Will Combine to Make Blankets for Those Experiencing Homelessness

For the second year in a row, Wednesday, June 21, 2023, (this time at First United Church of Christ, 30 N Pitt Street in Carlisle), campers from the Summer Program for Youth (SPY) will draw their stories onto squares of fabric that will later be assembled into a blanket. The quilt of children’s art will be put on display on the front steps at the Capital in Harrisburg. Last year’s #memorialblanket project took place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. This year’s display will again coincide with Homeless Remembrance night, memorialized every December 21st.

Volunteer artists and authors, published by the Charles Bruce Foundation – a local organization that supports writers, artists and musicians (WAM!) have given their time to the campers every summer for the better part of a decade. This year, in addition to reading to the children, teaching them about journaling, writing, rhyming, illustrating and other forms of storytelling – they will be involving the kids in one of the largest art projects created by central Pennsylvania artists. Certainly, the largest blanket art installation made to bring attention to homelessness.

The project brings together artisans and advocates from across the nation to raise awareness about homelessness. This year’s SPY quilts – made from squares – hand drawn by the children on 100% cotton fabric donated by Massachusetts supporter, Melissa Waterhouse, will be assembled by Newville area quilters.

“Each of the more than one hundred and thirty children enrolled in SPY camp will make a blanket square. They can make drawings of their stories. Their family make-up, their favorite pet, hobbies, imaginary creature – whatever. Nearly a hundred children participated in SPY this year and their self-expression will be quilted together to make family blankets for the #memorialblanket project sponsored by the Charles Bruce Foundation (CBF),” explained artist volunteer and CBF board member, Devera Lang.

After a massively successful art installation in DC last year, Carlisle area organizers have elected to bring the project back home. “We want to work with Pennsylvania lawmakers, creating a discussion that could – potentially – put the keystone state at the front of the line for understanding homelessness,” explained Diane Nilan, national advocate for children and youth experiencing homelessness. Legislation in my home state of Illinois changed the way we treat school children in the entire nation when Congress used our ideas to write national laws that protect kids. I have every hope that Pennsylvania’s Capitol can spearhead much needed change in how we deal with homelessness in general.”

“Our campers learn so much from working artists and authors. For years, CBF has brought these professionals into the lives of our kids. And now, this December, they’ll get to see their creativity on display in Harrisburg. The kids will be making a difference in the lives of others as their beautiful work warms families in need. I think they’ll learn a lot from this experience,” explained SPY’s Executive Director, Jeanne Som.

The press is invited to join the children while they make their squares – this Wednesday, June 21, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. at First United Church of Christ, 30 N Pitt Street, Carlisle, PA.

More information about the #memorialblanket project is available at