Freshman Uses Time in Quarantine Giving Back to Navajo Nation

November 12, 2020


Photo courtesy of Alayna Lelii // Some of the stuffed animals freshman Alayna Lelii has created to hand out during the holidays.

By Amelia Hardy

Freshman Alayna Lelii is using her abundance of free time time creating stuffed animals for the children of the Navajo Nation, to be given out to them during the holiday season. 

Lelii said she was talking to her neighbors about wanting to take part in a volunteer project to utilize the extra free time she had, and that’s when the idea of helping make stuffed animals for Care Stitchers became the perfect project for her.  

Lelii wasn’t responsible for picking the group to receive the animals, but said she is excited to be able to give back to the Navajo Nation. Born and raised outside of Philadelphia, Lelii recently moved across country to Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and she wanted to get involved in her community right away. She said her parents  raised her to know the impact of giving back to your community, and she’s grateful that she’s being given the opportunity to follow in her parents footsteps while also being able to do this independently without their help.  

“This project has made me happy and proud,” LeliI stated. “I wanted to do something that helps others and keeps me off the screen.”

Lelii made it clear she didn’t want to make the fact that she volunteers a big deal, because to her, it’s not a big deal. She is no stranger to volunteering her time; in the past  she participated in the Toys for Tots program or the Christmas Angel Tree program through her church in Philadelphia, along with giving out meals to the homeless every year.

She said the process of making these stuffed animals is pretty simple. She received a pattern and is responsible for stuffing and sewing the animals closed. This process can take anywhere for 10-20 minutes, just depending on which animal it is, along with the size. She was given the patterns in early October and has completed  70 out of 100 thus far.

Lelii said that she would like to work on similar work projects in the future. First on the list would be the Christmas presents that she would like to make for her family, and then she would like to work with her mom to make toys for pets at local animal shelters. She said she would also love to give back to third world countries, or make and give out bracelets and anklets. She said she has so many ideas, but wants to focus on what matters right now, which is to create toys for those in need in the Navajo Nation. 

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