A small group of Utah County students has spent the month coordinating efforts to craft dozens of “angel pockets” — small fabric pouches used to hold stillborn babies ahead of the burial process — for families throughout the county.

The idea started when youth ambassadors with the Utah County 4-H Family Consumer Science program reached out to Analane Powell, founder of Provo-based Angel Gowns by Analane.

They asked her to teach them how to make angel pockets out of wedding dresses for a service project, according to a Facebook post by Powell.

“And so I put together a video that showed how to do it,” Powell said in an interview Thursday.

In the 21-minute tutorial, which is uploaded to YouTube, Powell walks through the processes of disassembling wedding dresses and repurposing them into tiny pouches.

At that point, the youth ambassadors cut fabric, wrote instructions and sent out pre-cut kits to households throughout the county.

On Thursday, standing outside the entrance of Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, the group of Utah County students handed off a bag of 60 hand-crafted angel pockets to Lori Buss, who is the parent support coordinator for the hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

The group that delivered the angel pockets on Thursday included Lydia Thurgood, a senior at Lehi High School; Aliya Featherstone, a junior at Springville High School; Reagan Astle, an eighth grader at Mapleton Junior High; and Morgan Astle, a sixth grader at Meadow Brook Elementary, as well as Jana Featherstone, a volunteer leader who oversaw the project.

Buss, who is also in charge of Provo hospital’s Bereavement Support Group, said the angel pockets will be “used for infant losses throughout the county.”

“It’s important, because when a family loses an infant in the hospital, we want to be able to send them home with tangible memories,” Buss said.

“There’s nothing you can do to completely take away the sting of losing a child,” she continued. “But in a difficult situation, it’s helpful to know that other people love you, they care about you, and that they’ve put together something for you.”

While some of the TCS ambassadors are new to 4-H, which is part of Utah State University Extension, others have been involved with 4-H service projects for years.

Powell praised the group of Utah County students for their efforts and said the project was an example of young students “contributing to the betterment of our county.”

“Look at what these kids just did,” said Powell. “There are 60 families that are going to be blessed because these kids just took their time. And I think sometimes people forget that our youth are pretty amazing.”

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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