Mother turns pain into help for others

Irvis, one of the city’s most outspoken mothers against violence showed off her quilt for charity.

Monique Irvis stands in her dining room, positioned at the helm of a patchwork quilt that’s spread out across the table. A vinyl banner depicting the image of a young man surrounded by seemingly unassociated names and dates overtakes the remainder of the floor space.

She and her family, including daughter Dana Maxwell and best friend, Crystal Bradley, have gathered around the edges of these keepsakes, telling the story of how they came to be. It’s been almost five years since Irvis lost her son Eric to gun violence; nine years since her daughter’s son lost his father in an unrelated incident.

On August 1, 2007, Eric Woods was shot and killed after a basketball game in Southwest Philadelphia. He was one of nine 19-year-olds killed that year in Philadelphia and the first of twelve people killed that August alone.

It’s hard for Irvis to cope with losing a son, but she gathers strength from support programs like the one she attends at Anti-Violence Partnership. But not everyone who loses a family member is entitled to the help. Her grandson wasn’t.

“He didn’t get any of the support that he needed, until I lost my son and he went and got the help through me,” she said. “He didn’t have any of the services because his dad was involved in something that he shouldn’t have been in, at the time when he was killed.”

It’s this inequality that pushed Irvis to begin to lay the groundwork for a new support system, through a nonprofit that she’s already registered with the state and is working to launch called The Wounded Healing Memorial Foundation.

Since her son’s death in 2007, Irvis has begun organizing events. Apart from helping herself cope with the constant fear she feels for the safety of her other children, she’s able to help others who have lost loved ones, and most importantly, to help children who have lost parents.

“I mainly want to focus on the kids,” said Irvis. “Because the kids are the ones who are left behind, and people forget them.”

After being inspired by a similar project for AIDS awareness, Irvis incorporated the quilt into an event that was held in 2008. Each of the children who had lost a parent created a patch that was sewn into a handmade memorial quilt.

“We had a lot of children that that made stuff for their dads,” said Irvis. “And when you see the people just sitting down, putting the quilt together…”

“That was amazing,” said Bradley.

“It was unity,” said Maxwell. “Everybody coming together.”

Knitting in honor of lost

Since 2008, Irvis has worked on a new quilt, one made from commemorative shirts depicting the faces of those who have been lost. It’s a work in progress that she continued at this year’s event, held in August, around the time of the anniversary of her son’s death.

“I wanted to put faces to the victims,” said Irving. “And I wanted it to be big, so that people can see how it has affected us.”

There is currently a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Eric Woods’ killer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

International

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Local

Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…