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REEDSPORT — Charter school teen Alyssa Neves simply shrugs it off when people mention her quilting techniques.

The quilt, the first one she's ever made, brought in $200 toward $1,500 for a mission trip to Honduras.

She and 15 others will head out Jan. 20.

On that day "we leave for Dallas and we get there that night and we get back eight days later."

After stitching the quilt, she sold tickets to help raise money for the trip. Her pastor at Reedsport Foursquare Church, Terry Plotz, won the bright orange, brown and yellow creation and gifted it back to her.

"When I was younger, my mom bought me a sewing machine but I had no idea what I was doing," Neves said. The family later donated the machine to Sun Rise, which is over the Reedsport McDonald's. Sun Rise give disabled people job opportunities.

Neves returned to her sewing, specifically taking a class from Reedsport Community Charter School teacher Janet Ramsay.

"This was my first quilt," the junior said. "it wasn't that hard."

Ramsay assisted her.

"My mom (Dora) doesn't know how to sew," Neves said. "Doesn't even know how to braid hair. I finally know how to work the bobbing."

Dora Neves, who works for the Oregon Department of Human Services as a social services assistant, spoke of Alyssa's project.

"I was amazed that she picked up the skill," Dora said, adding that she felt "very blessed that Mrs. Ramsay came up with the idea" for Alyssa to make the quilt to help with the fundraiser.

Dora speaks proudly of her daughter.

"She's just an awesome child," she said. "She does have a lot of compassion for other people. For example, if fellow students aren't having a good day, she does her best to "turn their day around."

"Gosh she's so kind," Dora said.

The mother laughed as she recalled the story of the Sears Singer sewing machine.

"Years ago I was trying to teach her how to sew," Dora said, adding that the stitching got caught in the machine. "I have other talents but that (sewing) was not one of them."

Pausing for a moment, she thought about the background of quilting and sewing in the family saying she didn't think really anyone did much of either.

"Grandma Helene knits," she said.

Alyssa attends the Reedsport Foursquare Church. Other team members will join the effort from the Reedsport Church of God.

"We're going to be putting in water filters for people and we're going to be putting in latrines," she said. Plus they'll operate a Vacation Bible School. Part of the time will be strenuous for the group, as her dad Cliff noted. The village they'll help sits atop a hill and villagers don't have any vehicles. This means Neves and others have to walk up the hill, which will take about one and a half hours.

"This is all new to me," she said of mission work and traveling overseas. Even traveling in an airplane will be new.

However, adults will help youth, including her father.

Neves, who plays on the Reedsport Community Charter School volleyball team, will visit the Latin American nation with at least some preparation. She's taking first year Spanish at the school.

"I have a good grade in the class," Alyssa said. "There are some people going who know absolutely nothing (about the language) so I think I'll be okay."

"I have my vaccines and I have my passport and so I'm completely ready to go," the junior said.

"I'm just excited to go and to experience a new culture," she said. "I've always loved helping people. I think helping in another country is just a bigger deal."

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The Umpqua Post Editor Shelby Case can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 296 or shelby.case@theworldlink.com.

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Umpqua Post Editor