A Good Yarn: FAU’s Wilkes Honors College Engages in Community Service Project for the Homeless
Jupiter, FL (December 13, 2011) – Students in the Yarnatics Club at Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College at the John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter have put their artistic interests to the service of homeless people in South Florida.
A student organization that shares a passion for knitting and crochet, many of its members were already skilled in these crafts before the semester began; while others recently started to work on their first-ever yarn project with guidance from other club members.
“I founded Yarnatics because I knew there was a group of Honors College students who were already involved in yarn activities, and many more who wanted to learn,” said Sarah Harris, Yarnatics Club founder and president. “I thought that a club would be a good way to get everybody together.”
Originally, Yarnatics was intended to be only a social organization, but it quickly evolved into something more meaningful. Acting on the advice of the club’s faculty sponsor Sara McHale, assistant director of the Career Development Center on the MacArthur Campus, the club began to explore the Humble Stitch Project, an initiative that distributes handmade scarves, hats and gloves to members of the homeless community during the winter.
“I decided to involve Humble Stitch because I had always hoped to see the club moving in the direction of becoming a service organization,” said Harris. “As soon as I saw everyone’s enthusiasm, I knew we needed to direct all that energy toward something that could make a real difference in our community.”
One way in which the Yarnatics Club partners with Humble Stitch is by acting as a drop-off center for handmade goods created in the Jupiter community. Kasey Minnis, the founder and organizer for the Humble Stitch Project, is excited about the additional support her project has gained among Wilkes Honors College students.
“I’m tremendously grateful for the support of the students at FAU. Every item donated means another person stays warm this winter,” said Minnis. “Being able to add FAU's campus a drop-off location has made participation much easier for community members and helps to spread awareness of the project.”
Minnis asserts that the project does much more than simply keeping the homeless warm. “The reason for focusing on handmade items is to let our homeless neighbors know that people care about them,” Minnis said. “There’s still a significant stigma attached to homelessness, and each item donated is a message to someone without a home that a member of our community has compassion for them.”
Yarnatics members are working steadily to produce handmade accessories before the final pick-up date this month, and have committed to providing 10 percent of the Humble Stitch Project’s collected items.
The Yarnatics Club continues to promote their project among other students and community members. Those who are inexperienced in how to knit or crotchet are invited to donate yarn. Collection sites have been established on the MacArthur Campus, and students are encouraged to refer other crafters to the project. For these highly motivated honors students, crafting is not just a hobby, but also a unique opportunity to improve their community.
The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, located on FAU's John D. MacArthur Campus, is a four-year residential liberal arts & science college for high achieving undergraduates.
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.