Monday, April 22, 2013

Kids and Katie Knit...

At my school, living out our faith is a very important practice that we try to instill in the students.  As a school family, we have numerous service projects, fundraisers, drives & collections all throughout the year to encourage the kids to think outside of themselves.

Each class also has a specific service project that they work on.  When I became a new staff member, the line next to my class said "KidKnits."  I do crochet, and you all know that I like crafts, but I don't knit, and I couldn't imagine teaching a class of 29 kids how to knit.  (eek!)  Little did I know the adventure that would be experienced through this new service project. 

Make sure to go to the KidKnits website and check them out.  The idea for KidKnits was created by a nine year old girl who coupled together her new skill of knitting on a round loom with yarn made by women living in extreme poverty in Rwanda.  Fast forward a couple of years, and there are hundreds of students learning how to knit, buying yarn from True Vineyard Ministries, and learning about generosity, poverty, and global citizenship.

KidKnits brings together the need of these women in Rwanda (and also Chile) to have a way to support their families and the need of American students to understand a world outside of their classroom walls.  An awesome curriculum is provided to open their eyes and allow them to think a little bigger.  While they go through the curriculum, they also learn how to knit a hat on a round loom, a skill that even the least coordinated (trust me on this) 5th grader can do. 

This is what the Rwanda yarn looks like:
Hand sheered, hand spun, hand dyed with natural materials... it is beautiful and one of a kind.  One ball of yarn supports a woman and her family for a day.

My students made one hat, and then gave it away as a Christmas gift to a child at a mission parish in South Dakota.  They were so excited, and it was incredibly touching to read the letters that they wrote to go along with the hat.  The letters explained what they had learned to the child that would get to wear the hat.  (You can read a little of what they wrote here.) They then got to make a second hat and not surprisingly, many of them gave that one away too.  Seems to be that if you teach a child to give, they give beyond what  you can even imagine.

We also had the chance to buy more yarn, and here are some of the hats that I used as Christmas gifts.
It was an awesome experience, and was a great example of something that went way better than expected, which does not always happen in a classroom :)

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