Memorial blanket project

  • Calendar 2023

    2022-23 Month

    Event Details About Diane/HEAR US

     NC Piggies Blanket Events, Brevard, Morganton, Asheville

    DDN-canonBWDiane's Bio

    Diane's Facebook Page

    Diane's books: 
    Crossing the Line: Taking Steps to End Homelessness

    Changing the Paradigm of Homelessness

    Dismazed and Driven - My Look at Family Homelessness in America

    Diane's blog: MEDIUM

    Diane's Awards:

    • 2022, Honorary membership, ODK, SUNY, Oneonta
    • 2015, NAEHCY, Best Targeted Campaign, Worn Out Welcome Mat - KS
    • 2015, Sisters of St. Francis, Joliet, IL, Mother Alfred Moes Award
    • 2014, University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL Sister Clare Award
    • 2013, Texas Homeless Network, Kathy Reid Award
    • 2012, National Association for Education of Homeless Children Youth, Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award
    • 2012, The Education Center, Naperville, Kids’ Best Friend Award

    • 2012, Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness, Community Builder Award

    • 2012, Bridge Communities, Transforming Lives Award (YouTube video of her acceptance speech)

    • 2008, Naperville Church Women United, Human Rights Award

    • 2007, NAEHCY, Outstanding Media Award

    • 2006, Kane County (IL) Hidden Hero; and University of St. Francis Award of Merit


     1Dismazed/Driven virtual author talk, DLFF
    20, w/Pat Van Doren, Heritage Woods, Bolingbrook, IL


     Details on the Babes Page: Babes of Wrath Banned Book Tour

    Babes banned logo


     12, 7 - 8:30 pm, University of St. Francis, San Damiano Hall, Dismazed and Driven talk, free, public.1 USF details small





    24, Univ. Wisc. BASES class 3 - 4:30 pm


     1, 7 - 8:30 pm, DeKalb (IL) Public Library, Panel on Family Homelessness

    12, 10 a.m., Congressman Bill Foster Honoring Pat Van Doren, at Heritage House, Bolingbrook, IL

    December 21, noon - 9 pm, US Capitol, Memorial Blanket Project (www.memorialblanket.orgfor info)



    9, NCHE McKinney-Vento State Coordinator Conference, Washington, DC

    15, Office of Student Life conference, Newark, NJ 


    7, New Hampshire McKinney-Vento conference (virtual) 

    May  Filming, North Carolina

    Filming, North Carolina 

  • HEAR US Projects

    Besides the longstanding involvement of HEAR US in projects that raise awareness of family/youth homelessness, HEAR US has flexibility to pursue projects that would otherwise take a long time for other organizations to get off the ground. When a relevant issue arises, and circumstances allow, Diane can often pursue it, either by researching and bloggingabout it or visiting the location and filming.

    Other endeavors include Memorial Blanket Project, and various local awareness-raising events, e.g. diaper drives.

    Memorial Blanket Project  Diaper drive Budgetel Inn in Chattanooga closed
    DC Blankets Diaper drive 7 19 budgetel closed

    Recent examples of HEAR US action include: 

    Hurricane Michael, Panama City, FL 2020 Ride It Out
    Family in motel during Covid, Raleigh, NC 2020

    Capital Failure

    Doubled up homelessness in Madison and Dane County, WI 2021 Not Homeless Enough
    Humanitarian crisis caused by mass eviction in Chattanooga, TN 2022 Unexpected Upheaval
  • It's Everybody's Problem


     So often you hear, "We don't have homelessness in our town." or "It's a big city problem." or "They could get a place if they wanted to." or "Kids aren't homeless."

     More than 7 million invisible children and youthexperience homelessness across America, in every community.
    They need your help.  Thanks for your interest! Thanks for your support!

    Donate DDN MEDIUM blog

    Memorial Blanket Success!DC Blankets in front of US Capitol

    The December 21 event to call attention to the millions of
    children and adults who experience homelessness,
    and the countless people who die on the streets
    exceeded our wildest expectations! 
    HEAR US website Memorial Blanket coverage.
    Also, see pictures, video, articles at

    HEAR US board member Pat Van Doren 
    honored by Congress!

    Pat was recognized for her 3 decades of advocacy work to help families and adults
    experiencing homelessness. 
    See more of Pat's work.

    Pat Van Doren and HEAR US boardPat van doren and congressman bill fosterProclamation congress pat van doren(Left) Pat surrounded by HEAR US board members Maria Wilson, Barb Schneider, Diane Nilan, Rosie Robbs (missing Marilyn McGowan and Helen Jilek, OSB)
    (Center) Proclamation entered into the Congressional Records by Congressman Bill Foster.
    (Right) Congressman Bill Foster (IL, 11-D) congratulates Pat.
    The November 12th event was held at Heritage Woods, Bolingbrook, IL,
    and attended by family, friends, and neighbors.

    Charlie Book Released on Kindle!

    Charlie book cover
    The ever-popular

    Charlie Book: 60 Ways to Help Homeless Kids

    is now available as a Kindle book!


    Click here for info and to order


    New Films by HEAR US!
    Hidden in Plain Sight -
    Families Experiencing Homelessness in New Mexico
    (5/22)Dawn Family Plate

    Four mothers and a dad share their families' experiences of homelessness and
    describe how schools helped them survive

    HEAR Them: Youth Without Homes in New MexicoNM Youth Intro (5/22)

    Six New Mexico teens shared their experiences and insights about homelessness. Three teens are unaccompanied youth--without parents/guardians involved in their lives. The other three are part of a family. (10:09)

    ID eagle

    Idaho Schools: Lifesaving Connection  (1/22)
    4 women share their families' struggles and accomplishments, pointing to the importance of school support (18:30)

    Families Experiencing Housing Instability in Idaho  
    ID mothers share what school support meant to their families (6:50)

    These women offer deep, heartfelt insights about the agonies of housing instability and the impact of support from their children's school communities. 
    Invaluable lessons for all audiences. Perfect McKinney-Vento training tools.

    Check Out >> HEAR US Books 

    Visit the > HEAR US BOOKSHOP <

    To purchase other HEAR US books, visit our E-STORE.

    >>HEAR US books available through Amazon.

    Not Homeless Enough (8/21)

    Be Kind window

    The agony of parents with no viable options (video 10 min)

    Dane County, Wisconsin, with the capital seat Madison,
    has hundreds of families who have lost housing and have nowhere to go.
    Four parents share their observations and experiences of being
    "not homeless enough." 
    Wisconsin State Journal story 8-8-21

    family in parking lot

     Capital Failure -

    Family Homelessness Surging (3/21)

    See and hear this family's struggles being stuck in motels during CoVid in Raleigh, NC. (12-min)

    Jamie's astute descriptions of her family's hardships
    resonate with many families in similar situations. 
     Her textbook lesson that needs widespread sharing.
    More about the film, resources...

    Dismazed and Driven -
    My Look at Family Homelessness in America

    Part memoir of Diane's 15 years 
    chronicling family homelessness,
    part social justice narrative.

    Perfect companion book forChanging the Paradigm of Homelessness

    >>BUY THE BOOK<<

    >> 1-min. VIDEO PROMO

    dismazed and driven book cover

    Purchase from:

    Arrange your Dismazed-Driven book presentation! ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Take the 30-day HEAR US Compassion Challenge

    HEAR US 30 day compassion challenge
    Videos match stories in Dismazed and Driven, Diane's new book!

    A textbook that speaks the truth about 

    and offers strategies to address this crisis.  

    changing Paradigm book cover

    click arrowFor information and to order


    Check out our vast collection of videos featuring families/youth experiencing homelessness!
    HEAR US has made statewide McKinney-Vento films for:

    Texas, Kansas, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, 
    New Hampshire, New Jersey, Hawaii, New Mexico

    Filming also in:

    Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois,
    New York, California, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, 
    New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin 
    USA map small



  • Memorial Blanket 2022


    Photo (c) Diane Nilan 2022DC Blankets

    The Memorial Blanketart display on 12/21/22 in front of the Reflecting Pool at the US Capitol. 

    1,179 handmade blankets from knitters, crocheters, and quilters across the country blanketed the Capitol lawn. They were made by strangers for strangers, a true work of love.

    The blankets are a stark reminder of people who live and die on the streets of the US every year. 

    Following the one-day event, blankets were donated to people in need.

    The project was sponsored by the Charles Bruce Foundation.

    Photo (c) Diane Nilan 2022IL Blankets

    Quilts in the foreground were submitted by HEAR US. "These Little Piggies are Homeless" photos by Pat Van Doren are in the center of the quilts that were finished by volunteers in Illinois.

    Babies' and toddlers' footprints from 3 North Carolina programs serving young homeless children surround the Piggies images.

    The larger red, white and blue quilt has the iconic image of "Charlie" in the center. This represents the decades' long Illinois involvement in strenghtening educational rights for homeless students. 

    WATCH: Memorial Blanket photo collectionby Diane Nilan   

    WATCH: End of the Memorial Blanket Day by Diane Nilan 

     Washington Post, 12/22/22

    Handmade blankets for homeless crafted with ‘love’
    come to Capitol Hill

     The Progressive Magazine, 12/29/22

    On a Mission to End Homelessness, and Spread Warmth

    EARLIER COVERAGE of the HEAR US Memorial Blanket Activities: 

    ►Watch this NCTV news segmentabout the unique blankets being made in Illinois!

    ► Diane worked with 3 North Carolina communities to create Piggies blankets for babies using Pat Van Doren's iconic "These Little Piggies are Homeless" image.

    22 NC piggies FINAL small
    Here's a 1-minute TV newsclipshowing this heartwarming process.





    ► Here are the news storiesabout the Memorial Blanket Project

    ►Here's an adorable look at a "Piggies" event. (2-min)



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