Reaching High—Alexis Petschow of Upland, California


Alexis “Lexie” Petschow knows about flying high. She has floated through the sky in a hot air balloon, taken a ride on a helicopter and a blimp, and even sat in cockpits of airplanes!

But Lexie, who lives in Upland, California, soars in other ways, too. Her bubbly smile, sparkling eyes, and bouncy blond ponytail show her high spirits. And a bundle of quilts proves that 10-year-old Lexie sets and achieves high goals.

When Lexie’s grandmother visited the Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, last year, she learned about the poor conditions for newborn babies in many parts of the world. “Grandma told me that babies were being brought home wrapped in newspapers, and I just thought, ‘What can I do?’” Lexie explains.

She set a goal to make them baby quilts. First, her grandma taught her how to use the sewing machine. Then they purchased batting and flannel decorated with pastel flowers, checked patterns, and bright smiley faces for babies to snuggle up in.

Lexie made her first quilt for her mom. She also gave one to her seven-year-old sister, Lillyn. Lillyn helped Lexie by tying the quilts—using a needle to sew yarn in neat rows across the whole blanket. Then she snipped between the stitches and tied knots so little puffs of yarn would stick up from the fabric. Lillyn had one problem with her task. “Sometimes when I poke a needle through the blanket, I poke myself!” she exclaims.

Lillyn helped in other ways, too. She went with Lexie, their grandma, and a cousin to deliver the blankets to the Humanitarian Center. There Lexie dropped the quilts into a big gray bin filled with blankets and quilts donated by other people. The Humanitarian Center sends these donated items to people in more than 100 countries.

Was reaching her goal worth so much time and work? “Yes,” Lexie insists, nodding quickly. “I know that I’m helping someone, and I feel very good about that.”

Lexie sets many other goals, too. She wants to serve a mission, and she has already saved almost $1,000 for it. She earns money by helping around the house and by selling the avocados and oranges that grow on the trees in her yard. She and Lillyn pick the fruit, then Lexie loads it into boxes and sells it at a convenience store near their home.

“Lexie doesn’t need to be told what to do. She’s very responsible and is always trying to do what is right,” Lexie’s mom, Jennie, says. “She’s a remarkable girl.”

Both Lexie and Lillyn have talents in music. Lillyn plays the piano and sings beautifully. Lexie plays the flute and has learned how to conduct music. One Sunday, the Primary chorister in Lexie’s ward couldn’t come to Primary. No one else could conduct the music, so Lexie volunteered to help.

The girls are also good dancers and attend dance classes every week. When she’s not dancing, practicing her flute, or making quilts, Lexie likes to write in her journal, ride her bike, swim, visit her family, and study the scriptures with her family.

She impresses her mom with her spirituality and her compassion for others. “Lexie has a heart—she’s very caring,” Lexie’s mom says. “She has such a soft spot and is such an incredible kid. I’m really proud of her.”

When Lexie learned about the Faith in God program, she immediately started working on it. She completed some of the goals for the program that day! One of those goals was to make a list of the 10 things she likes best about her mom. “Number one is that she’s honest,” Lexie says. “I think that honesty is one of the most important things in life.”

She also has a close relationship with her grandma, who is helping her reach her next goal: to learn how to knit. “She wants to learn all the time,” Lexie’s grandma, Lillie, says.

Lexie’s family knows that whether she is clicking knitting needles, picking fruit, leading music, or stitching fabric, Lexie lifts others as she reaches high to meet her goals.

The Church Humanitarian Center

The Church Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, sends donated items to needy people in more than 100 countries around the world. In one month in 2003, the center sent 52 shipments to 26 different countries and five states in the United States. That means the center sent supplies to more places than there were days in the month! All together, the donations from the center that month weighed over one million pounds!

People give quilts, clothes, newborn baby supplies, school supplies, and first-aid supplies to the Humanitarian Center. After someone brings a donation to the center, workers or volunteers pack the donation into boxes.

Places that have had natural disasters like earthquakes or floods can receive donations as soon as five days after asking the Humanitarian Center for help. When the donations arrive, missionaries and other volunteer groups give them to the people who need them.

For more information about the Humanitarian Center, visit www.lds.org/ldsfoundation/welfare.

[photos] Photography by Callie Buys and Jennie Petschow; background clouds by Digital Stock

[photo] 1. Lexie (at age 3) dressed up to dance.

[photo] 2. Lexie (9) and Lillyn (6) at a sledge hockey game during the 2002 Paralympics in Salt Lake City, Utah

[photo] 3. Lexie earns a yellow belt in karate.

[photo] 4. Lillyn, Mom, and Lexie at the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple

[photo] 5. Grandma and Lexie

[photo] 6. Lexie with her quilts on the day she delivered them to the Humanitarian Center.

[photo] 7. Lexie (9) in her backyard, displaying a dessert she made for the Fourth of July.

Callie Buys is a member of the Colonial First Ward, Mount Vernon Virginia Stake.