Apologies for having to catch up on posts now that the school year is over; the behavior of regularly updating this site with our projects is not one I’ve learned to do well yet, but I will endeavor to do better next year.
As we returned to school in January we hoped to add to the list of skills we were trying to teach and leverage and acknowledge the needs of our immediate Colorado community, where it gets COLD in January. From some serendipitous online surfing, I learned that both a cafe serving the homeless in Fort Collins and a nearby public library were collecting scarves and hats to help keep those in need warm during these months, so using some of the funds we had raised we acquired several round looms for students to learn some easy knitting skills for hats and found a few patterns for other types of scarves made from fleece, both sewn and a no-sew pattern.
Students got the hang of the knitting loom pretty quickly, and a few used the looms to create scarves. We continued to see great collaboration among students, showing each other the ins-and-outs of each project and how to complete it. Many students commented on the zen-like state they found themselves in while using the looms in particular, realizing the power to both do something good for someone else and feel the calming power of this type of crafting.
The windows of our makerspace are painted with different quotes about kindness, helping others, and the importance of compassion. One of those quotes, attributed to Kristen Welch, says, “We change the world when we simply meet the needs of another.” I feel like this project embodies that idea in a meaningful way, and we got the opportunity to see that a little bit this time because of a lucky overlap. I teach one class at my school, called Philanthropy as Civic Engagement; this class teaches students the basics of philanthropy and how nonprofits address community issues, both through content I’ve created and an incredible program called Give Next. As a part of that class we took a field trip to better understand the issue of homelessness in Larimer County and meet some nonprofits addressing the issue. One of the nonprofits we visited was FoCo Cafe, so we were able to bring the scarves and hats with us to donate. These items had tags attached to them with our logo and some supportive thoughts directed at those who would be taking the items, and students were invited to place them around the cafe next to other donated scarves and hats, surrounded by those who would benefit from them eating their lunch. It made an impression on them.
28 students participated in this project; I didn’t get a count of items created, but both organizations saw a giant bag of cold weather gear brought to them with our well-wishes.