Carver Early College students have rallied together to do something for those less fortunate this winter season, and they need your help. A club called Knitting for the Needy, consisting of 58 members, has started knitting hats and scarves for homeless shelters in the Atlanta area. The club just started three weeks ago and already has made 16 hats and 14 scarves. These hats and scarves will be donated in next week to Covenant House off of Lakewood Parkway, which serves 15 to 21 teenagers in the school’s district. None of the members knew how to knit prior to the first meeting on Oct. 26, but the enthusiasm has grown from weekly afterschool meetings to daily lunch meetings — which have come to be referred to by students as “Knit and Nibble.”
With the help of the art teacher, Catrina Dillard, students have learned to knit scarves and hats with needles and looms. Dillard got the idea last year when her sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer. “After several treatments of chemo and radiation, she lost her hair,” Dillard said. “I knitted her a few hats because she claimed the wigs were itchy. I thought it would be awesome to knit hats for cancer victims. The idea morphed into knitting hats and scarves for the homeless as I talked to students about it. It took me all of last year and the first quarter of this year to collect donations and supplies.”
Yarn was donated through an $800 grant Dillard secured through http://www.donorschoose.org. Due to the popularity of the club, all this yarn has been used in starting new projects. More donations are needed to continue this service learning project to keep those less fortunate warm this winter season.
“It is very informal and gives us time to just talk,” Dillard tells us. “We talk about school, boys, decision-making and our goals for the future. It has formed a tight bond — student-to-student and teacher-to-student — in just a matter of weeks.”
Dillard has been blown away by how popular this has become among students, regardless of clique, and, more recently, even gender! Here are just a few responses she gathered from students recently. They read like testimonials to a miracle invention:
* “Ever since I’ve started knitting I haven’t even turned on the television. I go home and after I finish my homework, I either knit or read. It relaxes me. Besides, there’s never anything good on TV anyways.” — Sha’Bria Johnson, sophomore
* “I’m so addicted! I didn’t think I would enjoy it because when my mama knitted it looked boring. But ever since I started, I can’t stop. I just want to keep on knitting.” — Symone Willett, sophomore
* “The Knitting Club has really become a knitting family. All of us joined the Knitting Club with absolutely no experience. Ms. Dillard taught the first group and by the time our membership increased we were able to teach the new knitters. We have fun knitting together and it’s even more exciting when we are done with one because we see how all the knitting pays off. I think that we will really be proud once we see the needy enjoying the warmth provided by us “knitting for the needy.” — Jasmine Sales, senior
Students are seeking donations to support the club. (See the press release here.) The yarn that was originally donated to the club has already been used, and the students are seeking support to continue producing warm knit clothing for the homeless throughout the upcoming holiday period. Yarn and knitting needles can be donated to the club c/o Donna Catalano, The New Schools at Carver, 55 McDonough Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30315.