“WE CARE” looks to service people in need

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WE CARE is a new service group in the Whitewater community that has a main purpose of supporting and helping those in need.

The group was founded to aid persons suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, and premature babies. The group does projects such as making quilts, scrapbooks, jewelry and other crafts that they then send out in times of distress.

WE CARE was officially established this past fall, and members are just now getting started with their activities.

Terrie Parenteau, originator and adviser of the group, said WE CARE began with student initiative.

“Several students had come to me in hopes of starting something new,” Parenteau said. “After listening to them talk, I thought, ‘why not?’”

WE CARE meets at the United Methodist Church every Sunday where they began their crafting activities with Linus, an organization which donates handmade quilts to ill children in hospitals during their recovery.

WE CARE took off with a similar idea, aiming to knit two dozen quilts for those in need. Once this was accomplished, Parenteau came up with another idea for the organization to focus on: sewing 100 dresses for young girls to wear on their first day next school year.

Seniors Sara Holtzman and Whitney Alsteen are two students who have also dedicated themselves to the group’s efforts. They, as well as other students, said they are really aiming to build on the initial foundation of WE CARE.

“It was really a joint effort to start something new,” Alsteen said. “It feels great to learn skills you’ve never learned before to help others.”

WE CARE has also extended out to the UW-Whitewater womens’ Rugby team and hopes to help out other organizations as well.

“After you help someone you get this really great emotion,” Holtzman said. “It’s this warm and fuzzy feeling.”

As for the future of WE CARE, Parenteau mentioned her desire to see the group go even further.

“We would like to see WE CARE involved with an Adopt-a-Classroom program sometime in the future,” Parenteau said. “We can show others how to do certain activities and hopefully promote more campus and community involvement.”

The possibility to begin visiting retirement homes also is available as a part of the organization’s future activities.

To get involved with WE CARE, come to their Sunday meetings at the United Methodist Church from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Meetings are casual and potential participants are encouraged to come when they can for as long as they can.

“It’s like the pebble effect,” Parenteau said.  “You don’t know what the ripple effect will be, as long as you just drop the pebble.”