Blanket project keeps group positive

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Rosa Alomar, from left to right, Lucia Daniel, Donna Wilde and Jerri Miller, members of the Positive Expectations program, began making blankets about two months ago for women with children in Afghanistan.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

A group of Clovis mothers are putting their hands to work to help mothers on the other side of the world.

Four women in the Positive Expectations Program at Mental Health Resources began working on blankets for mothers with babies in Afghanistan about two months ago.

Diane Watts, agency nurse at Mental Health Resources, said projects like this help the group members and the world overall.

“I think it’s very important in today’s world that we do something for someone else,” she said. “These are all moms, all women. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, yellow, if you’ve been a mom, that’s a strong connection.”

The women of PEP describe the group as an adult program for people with mental illnesses.

The group meets five days a week and members said they do a variety of things together. They share a meal or go to the movies and most importantly, talk about the issues they are having.

“A lot of times there is a stigma attached to mental illness. In the group, there is no stigma,” Donna Wilde said.

The group was especially grateful to its advisors.

“They work with us. To them, we’re as normal as the next person,” Rosa Alomar said.

Lucia Daniel said the group keeps journals about different topics and asks a daily question involving skills that help them cope.

“We talk and write about topics that will help us survive in the real world,” Daniel said.

Watts said it helps people with chronic mental illnesses to be involved in activities, taking the emphasis off themselves. When making blankets was suggested, the group ran with it.

“I think (they ran with it) because of the common bond of being mothers,” Watts said.

Daniel is in the process of raising four grandchildren.

“I know what it’s like for the babies not to have everything they need,” Daniel said.

Jerri Miller said making the blankets is showing of the group’s compassion for the people of Afghanistan and their chance to contribute to the war effort.

“Our next batch will be for the people of Clovis or somewhere in the U.S.,” Miller said.

“We’re mothers too. We know what it feels like to be warmed by someone giving you a gift for your children,” Alomar said.