Comfort Blankets

The Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association (KEHA) held the organization’s 86th annual State Meeting at the Crowne Plaza in Louisville, Kentucky May 14-16, 2019.  More than 575 attendees from across the state, including 95 first-time participants, took part in the three-day meeting celebrating the theme “The Sun Shines Bright.”

The opening banquet on May 14th celebrated Stephen Foster, the songwriter who penned the line, “The sun shines bright,” with a performance by cast members from The Stephen Foster Story. The organization celebrated 42 years of support for the UK Ovarian Cancer Research and Screening Program with the presentation of awards during the opening banquet. Dr. Edward Pavlik, Ovarian Cancer Screening Research Director, was presented with a check for $46,567.69, raising KEHA’s lifetime contribution to the program to just under $1.5 million.

On May 15th, the KEHA Choir performed for the fourth consecutive year, continuing the renewal of a tradition dating back to the organization’s early years. The 26-member choir includes KEHA members from twenty-one counties and is under the director of Wendy Hood, Mercer County KEHA President. Following the choir performance, Gracie Furnish, who completed her term as the National FFA Eastern Region Vice President in October, inspired attendees highlighting how we all can shine bright.

Comfort Blanket SquaresA new feature of this year’s meeting was an on-site service project. KEHA members from across the state donated knit or crocheted squares and yarn for use in making comfort blankets for young patients at Norton Children’s Hospital. Attendees at the meeting spent time between sessions joining the squares to create colorful, child-sized blankets. In total, 55 blankets were completed for donation. Additional squares and yarn were provided to members in attendance to finish comfort blankets for donation to facilities across the state.

Jennifer Williams, KEHA Marketing and Publicity Chairman, was the creative mind behind the on-site service project. She shared, “We think this is the first-ever community service project conducted on-site at a state KEHA meeting.  I couldn't be prouder of the KEHA members who generously volunteered time and donated yarn and blocks, truly showcasing one of our core principles - SERVICE.  An unexpected benefit was the bonding and friendships that formed in our Knit and Crochet Corner as we stitched and shared!  By popular demand, this activity will return at next year's Conference in Owensboro.”

Comfort Blanket Parade

Three fundraising activities conducted as part of the meeting yielded more than $6,700 to support designated projects. A raffle generated $2650 to add to the contributions to the UK Ovarian Cancer Research and Screening Program. Through a silent auction, $1,600 was raised to aide in hosting the National Volunteer Outreach Network Conference in 2021. More than 350 handmade quilt squares were displayed and auctioned, providing $2,500 to support the meeting program.

The annual state meeting provides a time for training, networking, recognition and celebration.  Attendees participated in educational seminars addressing topics ranging from physical activity to email scams to volunteer service.  A series of concurrent workshops provided training in each of KEHA’s eight educational program areas of emphasis. The KEHA Annual Meeting concluded with an awards luncheon and the installation of newly elected officers.

KEHA is a membership organization dedicated to education, leadership and volunteer service.  To learn more, like and follow the organization’s newly established Facebook page at www.facebook.com/officialKEHA or visit the website at www.keha.org.