Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's All Who You Know

It's an old cliche, but it's true: It's all who you know. For a long time I've been musing about how fun and cool it would be if I could teach a knitting and crocheting class. I've noticed that my local YMCA (where I happen to work very part-time) offers a fee-based knitting class, but I've never gone because it's never appealed to me. I don't want to have to pay to sit with a bunch of people I don't know and knit or crochet in a stuffy room. No thanks. But on the other hand, there is a group of people at the Y that is vastly underserved: the 'tweens (and teens, to a certain extent). I've thought about teaching these kids to knit and crochet and donate the items we make to charity. A win-win! They learn a new skill/craft, we serve the community by charitable giving, and the Y has another offering for these kids. Well, it's hard to get things done at the Y. Lots of deaf ears. But that's about to change.

As luck would have it, I've befriended a woman at Lauren's speech therapy class. Her son is in the same class and we sit and chat for the hour the kids are in therapy. I learned that her best friend is a mom I would see at the Y from my time in child watch. Connections made. I also learned that this friend was on the board of directors at the Y. Who knew? So for all these months I've been chatting with my friend at speech therapy, knitting and crocheting away. I mentioned my idea for teaching to the the 'tweens and teens and making it a charity thing, blah blah blah, and wouldn't you know, she mentioned it recently to her friend on the board. Bingo! So I'm headed into the Y the other night to work my shift and the friend pulls me aside to say that she's taking my idea to the board of directors and could I please put together a proposal for her? Um, hell yeah!

So yesterday I spent quite a bit of time crafting my proposal. I summarized the various benefits to knitting and crocheting, beyond the obvious. How it is often equated to yoga for the stress-relieving benefits. And how it helps with manual dexterity, patience, math, and design. And how knitting for charity fosters a sense of community and purpose. It's intergenerational, etc. I also highlighted a charitable grassroots organization called Warm Up America! that gathers and joins 7"x 9" rectangles of knitting or crocheting
to make blankets for distribution to various shelters, charities, hospitals, etc. I did a start-up cost analysis to bottom line a budget (cheap!) and provided pictures of projects I've done to give them an idea of my skill level. I even spoke with a family member who used to own her own yarn and knitting store in another state for ideas. She told me that when you are leading a group to do things for charity you can often receive donated yarn and supplies. If we could get that rolling it would really help the budget. Also, I plan to make knitting needles from wooden dowels that the kids can make and decorate themselves for them to keep. It's just $1.99 for 10 dowels / 5 pairs of needles. I made a pair just last night - it's super-easy, fun, and they work pretty well! Pretty cost-effective, I'd say.

Anyway, I just submitted my proposal this morning. The board meeting is next week. Keep your fingers crossed that it gets approved and I get the green-light to get this class started. How much fun would that be?! It wouldn't pay much of anything - just my regular low hourly rate I'm earning now at the YMCA, but I'd enjoy my work/time there so much more! I can't wait!

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