Stu­dents cham­pion char­i­ta­ble ef­forts through cro­chet

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By SARA NEW­MAN snew­man@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @in­dy_­com­mu­nity

A group of stu­dents are us­ing their crafty cra­ni­ums to help those in need.

Cro­chet for Char­ity, a class started by Karen Jones for SPEAR, a Christ-cen­tered home­school sup­port group, is made up of six stu­dents rang­ing from sixth to eighth graders. The stu­dents spend their class time cro­chet­ing blan­kets, scarves, hats and more for var­i­ous non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Re­cently the group do­nated 26 blan­kets to Project Li­nus, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that col­lects hand­made blan­kets for chil­dren who are crit­i­cally ill or in des­per­ate need of a do­nated “se­cu­rity” blan­ket.

“I like that you can make things for other peo­ple,” Gra­cie Timms, 12, said while cro­chet­ing a multi-col­ored blan­ket Mon­day. “It’s a creative way to spend your time. I al­ways like to keep my hands mov­ing so it’s a great way to help other peo­ple too.”

The group is cur­rently work­ing on mak­ing more blan­kets for Project Li­nus and will then ven­ture onto mak­ing baby hats and booties for the Cather­ine Foun­da­tion Preg­nancy Care Cen­ter in Wal­dorf. At the be­gin­ning of the school year, the made wash­cloths for Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child, a Chris­tian hu­man­i­tar­ian aid or­ga­ni­za­tion that col­lects filled shoe­boxes from around the coun­try and de­liv­ers them to chil­dren in war-torn coun­tries.

“I’ve been cro­chet­ing for years and I al­ways wanted to use that for some­thing good but with three kids I never got around to it,” Jones said of her de­sire to start the class. “I taught a cro­chet class a few years ago and it was re­ally well re­ceived. I wanted to do this for me and the kids to use their craft­ing abil­i­ties to do some­thing pos­i­tive, not just for gifts for their friends and fam­ily but to do some­thing to im­pact the com­mu­nity.”

The class op­er­ates Mon­day af­ter­noons out of South Po­tomac Church in White Plains. SPEAR, South Po­tomac Ed­u­ca­tional Al­ter­na­tive Re­source, serves the fam­i­lies of the church and Charles County com­mu­nity. The co-op, which is made up of 225 stu­dents, is ap­proved as an Um­brella School with the Mary­land State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Ash­lyn Nabakowski, 12, was a cro­chet novice be­fore tak­ing this class and said she is happy to have learned a new skill.

“I wanted to learn how to cro­chet be­cause I’d never done it be­fore and I like the idea of giv­ing these to kids in need,” Nabakowski said while work­ing on her sev­enth blan­ket.

The class also pro­vides the stu­dents with ser­vice learn­ing hours they need for var­i­ous re­quire­ments.

He­lena Ki­jesky, 11, said she has been able to ac­quire ser­vice project hours for Amer­i­can Her­itage Girls, a Chris­tian-based scout­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion she is a part of.

Michael Cross, 12, son of co-teacher Karen Cross, said though his mom signed him up for the class, he is glad to be a part of it be­cause he was able to get back into the skill he learned seven years ago.

“I re­ally like it now,” Michael said.

“My hope is that they’ll re­al­ize that one per­son can make a dif­fer­ence and I hope it in­spires them to know that you don’t have to spend hours in a spe­cific lo­ca­tion to help oth­ers,” Jones said. “Even as a kid you can help some­one with just some yarn and a hook. I hope it in­spires them to branch out and do more things for more peo­ple.”

STAFF PHO­TOS BY SARA NEW­MAN

Ash­ley Nabakowski, 21, far left, Gra­cie Timms, 12, and Michael Cross, 12 cro­chet blan­kets for Project Li­nus as part of their Cro­chet for Char­ity class through the SPEAR home­school sup­port group.

Re­becca Coles, 14, works on a blan­ket with help from Karen Cross, co-teacher of Cro­chet for Char­ity.

Michael Cross cro­chets a blan­ket as part of Cro­chet for Char­ity, a class at the SPEAR home­school sup­port group that teaches stu­dents how to cro­chet and do­nates the items to var­i­ous char­i­ties.

Gra­cie Timms, 12, cro­chets a blan­ket for Project Li­nus, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that col­lects hand­made blan­kets for chil­dren who are crit­i­cally ill or in need of a "se­cu­rity" blan­ket.

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