TYLER (KYTX) - A 9-year-old Tyler girl is using her sewing skills to help others in need. Vanessa Hayward makes what she calls Buddy Babies and buddy pillows. She said she does it because some kids really need someone or something to talk to.
It originally started as a move to help sick children, but now it's more than that. Hayward has office hours from 10-5 during the weekday, where she spends that time peddling away at her grandma's sewing machine making felt stuffed items.
"We make these so it can cheer them up and have someone to talk to and play with," said Hayward.
She said the soft feel of the animals and a listening ear they offer to children provides comfort to those in need of help at the Children's Advocacy Center of Smith County.
"They have been sexually or severely physically abused."
Hayward may not know to what extent some of those children suffer, but her work brings some happiness to their lives.
"Before they leave we allow them to pick out a stuff animal, a blanket and a book," said Brenda Sanchez who works for the Children's Advocacy Center.
She said the children really take the gifts to heart.
"If a child were to pick out one of Vanessa's stuffed animals it thinks its an warm feeling."
Hayward's crafts come in all kinds of colors. In the past two years she's been creating the items she's given several hundred away.
"If a child were to pick out one of Vanessa's stuffed animals. It's a warm feeling," said Sanchez.
Gloria Washington, Hayward's grandmother is proud to see the effort that goes into each stitch.