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WPES Students Celebrate Knitting Project
by Joan Morris, Bay Area News Group
An act of kindness, multiplied 500 times, is heading to the town of Paradise and the survivors of last year’s devastating Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed almost 19,000 homes and businesses.
About 500 hand-knitted caps, made by students at a New York school, are to be delivered to their counterparts at Paradise Unified School District next week.
The caps are symbols of love and support from the West Patent Elementary School in Bedford Hills, New York, gifts to the Camp Fire survivors in Paradise and the surrounding area.
The original plan by the West Patent Elementary knitting club turned into a community project they named “Knitting for Friends,” drawing in parents, volunteers and even knitters at Stanford and UC Berkeley.
The original goal was to knit 250 caps, but after a letter explaining the project was sent home to parents and an area store donated yarn and knitting needles, the project doubled.
The hats will be delivered on Jan. 17, with JetBlue flying the bundles of hats and Knitting for Friends founders Margaret Rose Goodman, an elementary consulting teacher, and Marie Reino, the school nurse, to the Bay Area.
The pair also will present the school with copies of “A Hat for Mrs. Goldman” (Schwartz & Wade Books) by Michelle Edwards and Brian Karas. The book is about a young girl, Sophia, who makes pompoms for the many hats her neighbor, Mrs. Goldman, knits for the neighborhood. When Sophia realizes that Mrs. Goldman doesn’t have a hat for herself, she works to make her one.
The book, which will be read to Paradise students, has been incorporated into West Patent’s curriculum to encourage discussion about the knitting project, and reflects the school’s motto “Be kind every day. It’s the West Patent way.”
“Our Knitting for Friends service learning project is really about kindness, caring, empathy, friendship, teamwork and community building,” Goodman said. “It is children reaching out to other children, students learning how they can make this world a better place through their actions, and an entire learning community working together.”
This isn’t the first time West Patent students have reached out to Camp Fire survivors. Last year, the school donated gently used books to help replenish libraries destroyed by wildfires.