By Katie Durham Special to the Express For 10 years, the Yolo County Children’s Alliance has been the steward of blanket distributions throughout Yolo County. Where do we get these blankets? They are handmade and donated to us by Project Linus of Yolo County. Project Linus is a national non-profit organization that gives ‘security blanket’ a whole new meaning. The organization’s mission is first to provide love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need, through gifts of new handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers’. These blanketeers are both children and adults, and in some cases organizations, that donate their supplies and time to create blankets for children in need. YCCA has been distributing Project Linus Blankets since the beginning of the Healthy Families home visiting program. These blankets are somewhat of a cornerstone for the program’s education on Floor Time, or ‘Tummy Time’, for new mothers. The quilted blankets, in particular, play a vital role in encouraging new moms to place their babies on the ground and allow them to grow their motor skills, muscles, and explore their environments, playing a critical role in early infants’ motor development. Being able to move freely on their stomach helps develop the muscles for their arms and hands; muscles used to be able to write and grasp. You can imagine that new mothers who may be living in older homes, apartments or trailers, or in homes with tile floors, or in general around a lot of people moving in and out, may be apprehensive about placing their baby on the floor. The Project Linus blankets allow the mother to create a soft, clean, and safe space for the baby to do Tummy Time every day. The quilted blankets are best for Tummy Time due to their thickness and structure. The crocheted blankets we receive are more often used for covering the baby in a car seat, or in a stroller, protecting them from the sun. What is special about using the crocheted blankets to cover is that they have small holes, so they are safer to use as a shade covering. In case the blanket falls, the child is still able to get oxygen due to the small holes. Project Linus has been the foundation of educating new mothers about their baby’s development process, and the foundation for encouraging new mothers to work with their baby to grow and develop. Over the past 10 years, Project Linus has donated, and the Yolo County Children’s Alliance has distributed more than 7,000 blankets to new mothers and families in Yolo County. There are so many ways to get involved with Project Linus. If you’re interested in learning more about Project Linus of Yolo County, email Diane McGee, Chapter Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the YCCA Healthy Families Yolo County Home Visiting Program, visit https://www.yolokids.org/healthy-families-yolo-countystep-step.