Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County’s Great Futures program at Forest Hill Community High School recently taught students how to hand-knit blankets to help families in need. Craftivism (craft + activism) promotes the greater good and creates wider conversations about social justice issues among students. The four-month program resulted in Great Futures students donating over 30 hand-knitted blankets to the nonprofit Riviera Beach Cares Coalition for Homeless Families.
“Craftivism is a movement. You are crafting with your hands and with your heart. It goes into the community to help bring awareness to a cause, be that social, environmental, economic, or any issue that is in some way important to you,” said Great Futures Teacher and Craftivism Instructor Monika Pompetzki. ” The students are the stars of this project. None of them knew how to knit, and I really valued their trust in this project. I knew that they could do it, and they sure did it!”
For 18 weeks, students dedicated their time to learn how to hand-knit blankets. Due to CDC guidelines, students learned how to hand-knit virtually, making the experience all the more unique and challenging. After a semester’s worth of work, the Great Futures students donated the hand-knitted blankets to the families at the Riviera Beach Care Coalition for Homeless Families.
“This was a new experience for me. The process was challenging, but I learned new skills along the way,” said Great Futures student and freshman at Forest Hill Community High School Tatiana Ronelus. “Being able to donate these blankets to the community makes me feel good, because I’m able to help families in need. Craftivism was all new to me. It allowed me to learn how to bring awareness, and I can’t wait to be a part of other ways to bring awareness to the community.”
Not only have students enjoyed the social and creative benefits of working towards a common goal, but the craftivism program also increases awareness of social issues such as homelessness. The program encourages teens to be more active in their community by promoting the importance of service.
“The bottom line is that these families will have comfort in their time of need,” said Founder and CEO of Riviera Beach Cares Coalition for Homeless Families Terri Ferguson. “To know that people really do care, especially from people that don’t even know them, is truly healing for these families.”