Lynne Klein has been a teacher and a champion of children’s rights for more than 30 years. Klein paved the way for children’s art and ideas to be heard and seen by thousands, with an extensive traveling exhibition (displayed from ’91-’95) of children’s art and writing about other cultures. It was the strength of this project, her “first child,” that inspired Klein to develop the Children’s Quilt of Hope.
Incidents of hate crimes and violence in communities across America, served as the impetus of Klein to create a forum for discussion in homes and schools. The Children’s Quilt that Klein created and organized, does just that. It reaches thousands in a gentle, positive, hopeful way that springboards thought and discussion in classrooms and homes. The quilt debuted in May of 1998 and to date, is comprised of more than 70 panels of more than 1000 individual paper squares made by K-12 students.
Thousands are affected by the Quilt through its’ exhibition. This is the first public display by children about HIV/AIDS. The Quilt is breaking ground and opening up new avenues of discussion for families about life-threatening illness, hunger, loneliness, isolation and prejudice in communities that previously considered themselves untouched by such issues. The Quilt is a new forum for educating the public through the eyes of children, to keep the fight against HIV/AIDS and discrimination alive.
The Quilt of Hope Program establishes an open forum for very young children. It empowers children to impact their own community. It heightens awareness about HIV/AIDS, educates about prevention of the disease, dispels prejudice and combats the growing complacency about the disease. Honoring the children’s ideas and solution is important to Klein, who believes that “youth in service is integral to education.”
Klein teaches the community how children can be part of the solution to issues of hunger and food waste in their own neighborhoods. By challenging young minds, she believes we can eradicate this disease, and by working together we can rid our community of hate crimes.
The Children’s Quilt of Hope has received the following recognition: the JCPenney Golden Rule Award in Education; Junior Spirit of Marin Award for linking learning to community; a Marin County Board of Supervisors Commendation; a Marin County Fair Special Merit Award; selection for the Arts & Healing Network Community Education Project; and Third Place honors in Western Pairs Association 2000 Award of Achievement.
A kindergarten student, Anjuli Branz, (now 7 years old), created a hope square for the quilt, determined “to help the sick people who need food.” Remembering the quilt project, Anjuli organized, coordinated and ran her own bake sale at school to benefit Meals of Marin, a non-profit that cooks and delivers meals to homebound folks with like-threatening illnesses. This is the true spirit of the quilt—getting kids involved and empowered early to make a difference!
For her work, Klein was awarded the 1998 Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award for outstanding efforts in the area of human and civil rights from the Marin County Human Rights Commission.