As we pondered what project to do for December, trying to take into consideration both Finals and Winter break cutting in to the time, we settled on making Fidget Blankets. Michelle contacted the Longmont Life Care Center about a potential donation for those living there who have Alzheimer’s or Dementia. These lap-sized blankets are meant to help people with these conditions be soothed in times of confusion or uncertainty, giving them a variety of tactile items to toy with. Julie, the volunteer coordinator at the center, was excited about the idea and gave us a lot of good tips concerning what would be most effective to add to the blankets. As we considered this for December it also became apparent that this would be especially good for the month, since students could choose to add several elements to blankets or just one or two, reducing the time commitment to as little as 15 minutes. This made it so every student still had the opportunity for a little do-good time even with busy schedules.
After some research online concerning things that might be good to add, it became clear how many options we had. We began brainstorming a way to get a variety of little bits and pieces to add to make each blanket unique, and a great option for us turned out to be using sign-up genius and asking the Berthoud Community to donate items they might have at home in a craft room, sewing basket, or junk drawer. It was a big success! We got all kinds of different items and the students were excited to sort through all the choices looking for the perfect item to add. We also added some small stuffed toys purchased via Oriental Trading and took advantage of our 3-d printer, which one of our students used to create a variety of shapes to loop through a ribbon or cord.
The blankets had wonderful variety and were a great collaboration for December – students helped each other brainstorm, design, and add items. 10 blankets were completed by 16 students, and a highlight of this project was getting to deliver the blankets to the residents and meet the volunteer coordinator. The students were able to see exactly how their contributions would help people, and many left interested in volunteering at the center in other ways.