|Danielle Landry found herself in the same place as many during the COVID-19 pandemic, overwhelmed by the news, isolated from others, and struggling to make sense of it all.
So, she did what many people did during the pandemic – she took up a hobby.
“My grandmother always made slippers, and I didn’t have them anymore and wanted ones, so I decided to teach myself how to crochet,” she said. After watching some YouTube videos, Landry became proficient enough to teach others, which is how the St. Mary Crochet Club came to be.
Landry is in her first year at the Niagara Falls elementary school, and as an Educational Assistant, she recognized that many students were struggling re-integrating into school after an interrupted 2020-2021 school year. Eager to meet the students, pass along her newly acquired skill and to give students something to focus on, Landry started the crochet club, which now has seven members, mostly in grades five and six.
The students began learning simple chains and worked their way up to learning to make projects like slippers, tuques, hairbands, ear covers and, dish cloths and, most recently, bookmarks shaped like crosses.
The tuques and slippers were donated to a local church to help the homeless over the winter. The bookmarks were given to Grade 2 students to celebrate their first Reconciliation and First Communion. The dishcloths are being assembled into packs of two to be sold as a fundraiser for humanitarian aid in Ukraine during Catholic Education Week (May 2-6). Their goal is to have 200 sets packaged and ready to sell for $5 each, with the proceeds going to Development and Peace.
Principal Maria Solomon said the Crochet Club has created its own little cohort, and students are often seen in the schoolyard with a crochet hook in hand and yarn peeking out of a bag over their shoulder. But it’s also expanded, and Landry is in high demand, going into classrooms to teach students the craft.
“It’s amazing how everyone has really gotten into it,” she says. “It’s really been popular.”
For those interested in supporting the dishcloth fundraiser, parents and staff within Niagara Catholic can pay through School Cash Online. Members of the public who wish to purchase dishcloths can receive them by donating to the Niagara Foundation for Catholic Education, which provides scholarships and other financial aid to students.
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