Students, teachers, and parents during a crochet workshop at school [Photo: Paulo Ribeiro/Courtesy of the South American Division]


Students Make Crochet Blankets to Warm the Needy Population

Project also seeks to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and improve students' attention in studies

Brazil | Paulo Ribeiro

After-hours students at Colégio Adventista de Joinville (Saguaçu unit) are making crochet blankets to help needy families and homeless people during the winter. 

Entitled “Crochê que Aquece,” the project started its activities in April of this year with students from elementary to high school. In addition to assisting needy people, the workshop seeks to improve students' attention to study, develop motor skills, and alleviate anxiety and depression. 

During the course, students learn basic and advanced crochet needle-and-thread-handling techniques. Classes are held in the classroom on Tuesday afternoons. Ninth-grade student Helena Duarte is the one who teaches crochet in the workshop, together with teacher Mariana Primo, who created and coordinates the initiative.

Helena explains that she started learning to crochet with her grandmother and then deepened her knowledge through video lessons on the internet. "After that, I got excited. I bought some yarn and made my first piece, a rug, because it was very easy and quick to learn. Nowadays, crochet calms me down and makes me very happy, especially when I see a finished piece I did," she says.

Emanuella Sena Wasilewski is a junior in high school and project leader. She says at first, she didn't know how to crochet and had the help of the creator of the project. "I didn't have any knowledge; I was even very nervous about it, but teacher Mariana was super patient with me. She spent half an hour teaching me how to make chains, which is the easiest crochet stitch."

Still, according to Emanuella, the workshop contributes to her emotional health, especially after a period of confinement at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "It has been a very rich experience for me. It has helped me a lot to control my anxiety, and being in a community helping and having the same mission is very contagious. Seeing that our art allows us to serve people is very good," she says.

Family Involvement in School 

The project aroused curiosity and interest in parents. Therefore, some began to participate in the classes. Currently, the project has 50 people engaged in making the blankets, including students and family members.

Zenilda Machado participates in the workshop with her daughter, Ana Gabriela, a fifth-grader. They started attending the course after being invited by Kemilly Carvalho, a friend of Ana Gabriela. According to Zenilda, the crochet classes met that for which she was looking to occupy her mind and time. "I'm away from work for cancer treatment. And, talking to God, I asked Him to show me something I could do and help other people," she testifies.

Zenilda also says at first, she thought the workshop was just another crochet course like so many others, but she was surprised to learn the purpose of the project. "When I knew it had a purpose, I was even more excited. Doing something in the company of my daughter and the young people is very good. We are very happy for the invitation. It's not just a crochet class; it goes beyond study; it's love for the [community]."

Student Keila Teichert (right) and her mother make blankets at school [Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]

Student Keila Teichert (right) and her mother make blankets at school [Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]

Stages of Making and Donating Materials

First, the students make small crochet squares of approximately 20 centimeters on each side. Then, these pieces are joined to form the blankets, following the color combination. Family members who are not available to go to school make the squares at home. The threads and needles used in the workshop are the result of donations from the course's students, parents, school staff, and entities that admire the project, such as Ação Solidária Adventista (ASA).

Project for the Next Semester 

In the second half of 2022, the school will start a workshop to make scarves strictly by hand. The objective is to assist students with difficulties in handling threads and needles or who are not available to be at school on Tuesday afternoons.

“Our intention is to deliver these scarves to homes for the elderly and other institutions that serve people in need,” explains Primo.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s news site