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Karen Loucks Rinedollar » community


It is said that losing a child is a parent’s biggest nightmare. The healing process is a life long experience. Ali Bandell has chosen a beautiful way to honor her own daughter’s birthday. She invites you to help her, help others. 

Saturday would have been Zoë’s 20th birthday.  I have been thinking about a way to spend April 12 in a meaningful way and I learned about Project Linus.  This is a local program that makes and collects homemade quilts and blankets that usually go to children at our local hospitals or who have gone through traumatic situations.  Currently, Project Linus is working to collect enough homemade blankets and quilts to give to each students of Arapahoe High School. Earlier this school year there was a shooting at this school and a 17 year old senior was shot and killed.

It takes about an hour to make a 2 sided fleece blanket.  Please let me know if you can join me and some of Zoë’s other friends and family members this weekend working to support those in our community who have experienced feelings that they don’t understand and that we know all too well. Friday night (4-8) and Saturday (1-7) we will make fleece blankets that will be shared with the seniors at Arapahoe HS.

Unfortunately, I know how much these small gestures from our community are so appreciated, healing and become more meaningful in time.  My goal is to make 20 blankets.

Please let me know if you are coming and when so that I can have materials and food here for you.  If there is another time that you do it, let me know as I will not be traveling again until May.

Love to you all


303.435.6645 – call or text

Please join Ali this weekend if you are able. The positive ripple effects will be felt throughout our community for years to come. – Karen Loucks Rinedollar 

Aurora Shooting brings back Memories of Columbine


Denver awoke yesterday morning to the chilling news that “it” had happened again in our community. Another horrific act of violence was deloaded on a group of innocents. A rush of memories of Columbine immediately started to cloud my mind. Isn’t it amazing how the brain can store such memories for times it’s needed?

Project Linus got its first opportunity to assist with a large sized emergency in April 1999. As the hometown of Project Linus, we had been able to assist other chapters while they dealt with the aftermath of hurricanes, tornadoes and other such events. Now, here was such an event, in our own backyard.

Like all the seemingly pointless exercises we have had to endure since childhood- fire drills, duck and covers, airplane air mask explanations- our training came in handy when the chips were down. We were able to draw on our experience and jump into action. A three day community quilting bee was quickly coordinated whose results are still felt to this day, 13 years later. Each of the 1600 students who attended Columbine were presented with a Project Linus blanket along with many teacher’s families. It is still a common occurance when I’m giving a talk about Project Linus and Making a Difference for someone in the audience to share their Columbine blanket story.

We learned many helpful lessons through that event. Most of all, how much people want to help. With a little guidance, they are more than happy to make it happen. Hundreds of pairs of helping hands- men, women & children- assisted with the making of the blankets. Stores and companies stepped forward with an endless supply of energy sustaining food.

Like all things in life, when you give to others, you can’t help but receive in return. It seems to be the nature of the Universe. Repeatedly, participants of this event came up to thank Project Linus for creating an event that they could tangibly work out their grief. By being able to put hands to work, they were able to assist with both the Columbine student’s as well as their own grieving process.

Because of lessons learned from Columbine, we are going to have another emergency quilting bee. This time it will start a 3 hour event on Sunday, July 22nd from 1-4pm. We are still securing a location however you can start preparing. We are asking that people bring 1 1/2 to 2 yards pieces of new,  polar fleece. Most of the blankets will be going to teens so more mature themed fabrics are preferred. You will also need to bring sharp sewing shears as regular paper scissors don’t cut this fabric well as result in extra time and sore hands. Sewing shears actually will cut like a knife through butter.

If you have connections to a large meeting room- community center, church or library, please drop us a line asap as we would like to cement details of this event to help our community heal, again. For those who are more inclined, we need assistance defraying costs. A tax free monetary donation can be sent to Project Linus Denver Chapter, 20450 Oakbrook Lane, Parker, CO. 80138