NISKAYUNA, N.Y. -- A Niskayuna teen has turned her home into a mini warehouse, and it's all for a good cause.
The gold award is the highest achievement for a girl scout, and for Felicia Dodge it's been an incredibly fulfilling mission. The 17-year-old created "Invigoration: Empowering A Nation," a program to set up a sewing school at an orphanage in Haiti.
"At first, I was thinking about sending them down dresses, skirts, stuff like that but then I did more thinking and decided I wanted to do something that would be more sustainable," she says.
She came up with the idea after seeing the horrific scenes following the 2010 earthquake that devastated the third world nation. She teamed up with the Haiti Orphan Project and is getting some help from a pastor to make sure the school has everything it needs for long-term success.
‘When they learn the skills of sewing, the basic skills but how to sew dresses skirts, pants, things for every day, they can sell them and make a living for themselves and give them to their families and the people in their community," she says.
But the project hasn't come without challenges, all of which this Niskayuna High School student has managed to overcome. Since monetary donations are not allowed per girl scout rules, she has managed to use gift cards to Joanne fabrics to buy new sewing machines. She is collecting things like fabric, thread and patterns, and she was awarded a one thousand dollar grant to help cover shipping costs.
"I am really fortunate to have what i have, the education and things like that, all the skills I learned, but a lot of people in countries like Haiti, they are not as fortunate to have that kind of future ahead of them. So I want to give them the hope that someday maybe they'll be able to provide a future for themselves and have a profession that they could use throughout their lives," she says.
Dodge says she hopes to one day make a trip to the Haitian orphanage where her school is set up. She also hopes to continue her work when she is in college and expand the sewing school to other villages.