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Lakeland teen makes Birds of Hope

10:16 PM, Nov 27, 2012   |    comments
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LAKELAND, Florida -- The rhythmic hum of a sewing machine is familiar in Emily Osley's house, as the Lakeland teenager stitches bird after bird. So far, she figures she's made more than 7,000 of the small decorative figures she calls Birds of Hope.

So why this big bird bonanza? It all started two years ago when Emily saw a video about an effort to provide clean water for people in Zambia.

"I thought, 'I've got to do something,' because clean water is a simple, basic need that Americans don't even think about when we turn on the faucet," says Emily from her brightly decorated sewing room.

So she began making and selling her Birds of Hope to raise money for the group ActiveWater. She feels called by God to use her sewing skills for good. So far, Emily has raised about $45,000 for the clean water group.

So can these little birds from Lakeland really make a difference half way around the world? Well, last June, Emily got to find out when she hopped on an even bigger bird and flew to Zambia herself.

There Emily saw firsthand how villages were improved by good wells and she even got to help build one of the biosand-filters that the group installs in homes to help keep families healthy.

"It's very cool to see what it actually does. I have so many stories," she says with a laugh.

With stacks of donated fabric, Emily sews much more than a decoration. With a thin thread, she bonds people worlds apart. "I just feel so blessed to be a part of helping people around the world and I love Zambia now."

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