By Lucrecia Gray
Lucrecia Gray was one of RSM US LLP’s (RSM’s) 2019 Pursue Your Passion winners. Through Pursue Your Passion, RSM supports personal and professional aspirations by providing nine employees with $90,000 ($10,000 each) and nine paid days off to fulfill their dreams. Lucrecia’s dream? Collaborate with the Quilts of Valor Foundation to produce comforting quilts for U.S. service members and veterans touched by war. Read her story:
Quilting has been around for generations. What once was a necessity made up of worn-out clothing and old bed linens has now become almost a luxury with premium quilting cotton costing between $10-$12 a yard. Quilting was once done completely by hand, bringing generations together to complete the process from scraps to quilt. A part of my desire to take part in RSM’s Pursue Your Passion program was to be able to share this art with others to help increase the love of this craft. I’m a firm believer that finding something to do with our hands, other than working on a computer, is instrumental in helping lower stress and overall burn out. It doesn’t have to be a needle craft, things like gardening, cooking or playing an instrument all work as well!
The first thing I was able to do with the money I received through Pursue Your Passion was purchase a faster machine for myself. I was also able to buy another smaller beginner machine so I could have my daughter and her friends over to begin learning the basics of sewing. While I wasn’t able to get them to give up their phones for good, we did disconnect for a few hours and had a really nice time!
My second goal was to create and gift as many quilts as possible to Quilts of Valor (QoV), an organization whose mission is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts. To accomplish this, I took lessons at my local quilt store on how to quilt large quilts with a long-arm quilter. I also had my husband make me a large cutting and ironing station to accommodate the full size quilt sizes that are used by QoV.
We hosted a weekend-long mother/daughter weekend where I was able to share the QoV organization and mission and teach the girls the importance of giving back to their community while teaching the mothers how to quilt. Together, we’ve completed 12 quilt tops, six of which are ready to be gifted. I have a goal to complete another three quilt tops this year and have been able to acquire enough material to be able to gift another five to 10 quilts next year as well. Many people are surprised at the cost that goes into a quilt. The average throw/twin size quilt costs close to $300 in materials.
I really appreciate the opportunity RSM’s Pursue Your passion program has presented for me as it has pushed me out of my comfort zone, enhanced my skills and allowed me to give back through an amazing organization.