We want to take a moment to introduce you to Milena..

For those of you that have visited our home office, Milena is the lead artist behind the beautiful loom that hangs in the center. Her loom and it’s essence have become a living, breathing staple of the Friends of Aine experience. We asked her to share her journey towards the creation of this loom with us,

“As a kid, I know how important it is to feel like you have someone supporting you, this was my goal for my project with Friends of Aine.

My name is Milena Whitney, I am 14 and over the last few years I have been working on my Girl Scout Silver Award with the Friends of Aine Center. I have competed in their try-athalon every year since it was started and slowly started to become more and more involved with their amazing organization.

When the opportunity to work with them for my project came up, I jumped on it. I had so many different ideas but in the end, I kept coming back to, “How can I help children who have lost a loved one feel supported.” I went to a few different art and crafting festivals to get inspiration. I knew what to make the second I saw it, a loom with hundreds of different pieces of fabric in it, all woven by different hands to make a gorgeous piece of art. I knew this is what I was going to make.

I started spreading the word, making the plans and getting colorful cloth donations for the sunset tapestry I was preparing to make. My parents and I constructed the loom and on the day of the try-athalon, we set it up so that after the participants had raced, they could weave a unique piece of fabric into the loom. We continued this at the try-athalons until the loom was finished and looked absolutely stunning.

After looking at it for a while and brainstorming, a thought came to mind…. Dragonflies, Aine’s favorite animal and the organization’s logo. And we were off again, finding materials, helping younger troops make their own popsicle stick and clothespin dragonflies to pin to the loom and reveling in the growing beauty of the loom. Each dragonfly is truly unique and beautifully customized and I can’t thank their creators enough for their additions. The goal was to make enough dragonflies to pin on the loom so that as children came and went from the Friends of Aine Center, they could take a dragonfly and know that another child out there was supporting and loving them.

So, you may ask where this whole journey ends? The truth is, it doesn’t! The loom now resides at the Friends of Aine Center in Manchester, NH. There is a kit there so that participants and visitors can continue to make dragonflies and I am currently in the process of making smaller kits to send to the participants during this uncertain time. At future try-athalons, you will see the loom, possibly be able to weave on another one, and be able to make a dragonfly to add to the loom and continue to make everyone’s day just a little brighter.”

We are so honored that Milena took the time to share her talent and heart with us. This loom has become an ever evolving and increasingly special part of Friends of Aine. The idea that so many hands take the time to pour love into the loom and the dragonflies, which then travel home with different hands, so wonderfully embodies our mission to create a supportive community that exists both within and outside of the walls of our space. We are so thankful, Milena ♥