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Local Youth Rallies For Australian Wildlife
Six-Year-Old Seamstress
Young Tylie Borba may be just six years old but her heart and drive to help are as big as anyone; she took on a project making pouches and mittens for Australian wildlife impacted by devastating fires and has sent them off to aid the animals. Marg Jackson/The Leader

Tylie Borba is not your average six-year-old.

Unless of course you’re speaking of a first grader who rises early, watches the news to check weather and heads out to help with ranch duties, then maybe she is. One thing, however, which makes this homeschooled first grader a bit different than her peer group, came by way of her daily news watching.

Tylie has been busy and not with the daily chores one might suspect of a “ranch kid.” Inspired by a segment she witnessed on the morning news, Tylie has been busy sewing and ironing.

“I am making pouches for the animals in Australia, because they got burnt,” the six-year-old shared of her project earlier this year. A project which she put a lot of time and love into, yet has just recently been halted due to overwhelming response by the crafting community.

Tylie’s initial response to seeing the Australian fire devastation, however, was not to get sewing. Her initial desire was to go to Australia.

“I wanted to go there, put out the fire and take the animals someplace else,” Tylie said of her initial plan.

“She even got her map and showed us on the map,” mom Kristle and Tylie’s home school teacher shared, noting that they had worked on learning all the continents. Tylie felt the need to go help.

As mom turned to the web and began Google searches, she learned of the need for the pouches and mittens for kangaroos, koalas and sleepwraps for bats.

With the help of friends, some money was donated to help purchase fabric for the project.

“She picked out all the fabric,” Kristle stated. “For every pouch we made, we had to make two liners. We had to learn a French seam, which we didn’t know how to do.”

While mom knew the basics to the sewing machine, six-year-old Tylie had to learn not only to sew, but iron as well.

“It was hard,” Tylie said of the multi-step process, from printing and cutting the pattern and everything in between. “I enjoyed all of it, mostly the ironing.”

The craft project became so popular worldwide, that organizers began requesting the projects to cease. With a fair amount of fabric left and now authorities calling for monetary donations to aid with feeding the wild life, Tylie’s focus will now shift.

“We’re going to make blankets, handkerchiefs and bags for people to buy,” Tylie said.

Mom added all proceeds made from the crafting project will be sent directly to an Australian relief project.

“It was so cute,” Kristle shared of watching her daughter, “the way we were set up, her feet didn’t hit the ground so we had a crate under there with the foot pedal for the sewing machine.”

Mom, naturally proud of her daughter, recognizes while most six-year-old’s don’t watch the news, due to the Borba family business and lifestyle they do.

“I’m proud of her because that’s really how we try to raise our kids,” Kristle said, “to be humble and to be kind and the fact that she took this upon herself. For her to want to do something and do it on her own, that makes me really proud. Someone little can make a difference.”

When asked to describe herself in one word, Tylie simply stated, “Thankful!”

As she did, mom beaming, shared, “I would have said amazing.”

Whether it be thankful or amazing, this Oakdale six-year-old has now made an impact not just on those who know her, but on another part of the world. 

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First grader Tylie Borba works diligently sewing one of the 45 pouches she made with the help of mom Kristle after being inspired by the Australia fires she saw on the news, wanting to help out the impacted wildlife there. Photo Contributed