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Dominick and the Boys from Africa


Posted: January 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Kidane (left), Zinnah and Dominick. Both Kidane and Zinnah, 15 and 16 years old respectively, had orthopedic surgery on their hands and feet. Naomi Carmona-Morshead /courtesy photo

About three years ago, a young 7-year old was hanging out at his mom’s store in Old Town Newhall. We were folding material into 2-yard lengths to tie into blankets for children having surgery in Third World countries.

Dominick was playing his games, but he asked questions just like a growing boy will do. In January 2013, when I returned from our Mending Kids International Medical Mission to Ethiopia where we delivered the blankets, Dominick poured over my memory book.

In February 2014, he brought his Aunt Jenny to help tie blankets with the women of Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita.

Today Dominick is 10 years old and with his mom, Jill Stephens, attended the gala fundraiser, “Wings Around the World” with Mending Kids International, where the Gene Simmons Family was honored with the Humanitarian Award.

Two boys from Africa, 15 and 16 years old, both had orthopedic surgery on their hands and feet. Dominick found that he could easily see over their heads; he was taller than both of them. He couldn’t get it off his mind all night.

“I’m really bothered that they are ‘soooo’ much older than me but I am ‘soooo’ much bigger than they are. What happened?” he asked.

Dominick had moved out of his western Santa Clarita boy’s life and learned a different reality. He saw boys who did not have the same physical comfort, nor nutrition, as himself. He saw boys who had never worn tennis shoes in their life.

He also got to see how with surgery they can wear shoes and even ride a bicycle. It was a very big heart-warming moment in his life, and something that will stay with him forever.

On February 9, 2014 Dominick Stephens-Oleesky will be hosting a table of tie blankets at the Soroptimist Day of Service. He will be responsible for bringing four to six friends, 10 stuffed animals, 10 coloring books and 10 crayon sets to trade for the two yards of material that will become a blanket made for a needy child.

Look out for a seriously committed Dominick; he may ask you to help!

The goal is provide 200 blankets in two hours for eight different countries around the globe. About 80 women will participate with their families from 5-years to college age too.

Anyone is invited to attend, the more the merrier.

The event is Feb. 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. Bring scissors and a 12 to 18-inch stuffed animal. Please contact Naomi Carmona-Morshead at if you are interested in sharing this experience.


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