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Teen’s project to help area preemies

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

One Lincoln County teenager is fully embracing the spirit of giving this holiday season.
Julianna Peres, who resides in Denver with her family, has taken to heart this notion and is using her own talents to help others.
The ninth-grader at SouthLake Christian Academy in Huntersville has been crocheting for nearly half of her life, having been taught by her mother and grandmother at the age of 8. The now 15-year-old has plans to donate blankets she’s crocheted for premature infants to Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, which is soon opening a new pavilion that includes a special-care nursery for preemies.
So far, Julianna has made about 21 blankets, and she expects she will make a few more before delivering them, along with her twin sister, Isabella, to the hospital in early December.
The idea stemmed from her having crocheted a blanket three years ago for a friend of her parents who had a preemie.
“I thought it would be nice to make more,” she told the Times-News last week.
It takes Julianna four hours in total to make one blanket, she said, adding that she will often get through one a week.
She’s previously donated blankets to different agencies and individuals in the area. In addition to blankets, she’s also been crocheting dish rags and has recently begun making purses. Though she’s tried teaching some of her friends in the past, she admits most haven’t picked up crocheting just yet.
Likewise, her sister is more fond of other arts and crafts than of crocheting or knitting.
As for where she developed her sense of community-mindedness, Julianna said both her parents and her school have instilled within her the importance of giving back to those in need. She decided to call on her strengths to help her do this, noting that she’s “not good with community service” in its traditional formats.
Instead, through crocheting the blankets, she’s found her own way to directly help others.
Her father, Reinaldo Panico Peres, president and CEO of No Borders Consulting Group and an active participant in the local business community, found out about the hospital’s new center for premature babies while attending a board meeting for another organization.
He said he, himself, has always been community-focused and loved babies. As such, the chance for his daughter to help in this way presented a nice opportunity.
“I’m very proud of her,” Peres said.

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