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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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At LCMR, A Stitch in Time Saves Lives

 

By Maureen Cawley

Some students at Lower Cape May Regional High School (LCMR) are picking up a new hobby and saving lives. The school’s knitting club kicked off this fall when Art Teacher Susan Wolfe and Librarian Tish Carpinelli invited skilled and novice knitters to the library to learn about and improve their knitting skills while making caps that can help save the lives of babies in the developing world.
Making baby caps is part of Save the Children’s “Knit One Save One” program. In addition to knitting hats, participants are asked to write letters to President-Elect Barack Obama ask for increased leadership and funding for maternal, newborn and child health.

According to Save the Children, almost 10 million children in the developing world die before they reach the age of 5, largely from preventable, treatable illnesses like pneumonia, diarrhea, and complications related to childbirth. Four million of these deaths occur to newborns – babies less than one month old.
Simple health measure are the key to saving many of these children: antibiotics to fight infections, training for skilled birth attendants, immunizations, on education on breastfeeding and basic care such as drying a newborn baby and keeping it warm. (That’s where the hats come in.)
The program has attracted knitters from around the world, including high profile knitters like actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Debra Messing and about two dozens LCMR students. Just a few students showed up for the first meeting, but the excitement spread (fueled by Wolfe’s homemade cookies), and more students are participating every week.
By last Wednesday, dozens of tiny homemade hats were lined up on the library table like colorful cupcakes—no two the same.
Student Heather Lesko says she came to the club as a novice knitter, but she is quickly picking up the craft. In fact, she plans on applying her new talent to creating some home-made Christmas gifts this year.
Freshman Lewis Limon said he’s enjoyed learning the new skill, but he also feels good about using his time and talents to help others.
“I’m proud,” he said. “I feel really proud that I’m helping kids who don’t have as much as I do.”
Wolfe said she was inspired to start the program by her daughter’s friend who works for Save the Children, and she said it has been a rewarding experience for her as well as the students.
“It’s nice to pass the tradition (of knitting) on, and to do something for a good cause,” she said, and even though the program ends in early January, the knitters at LCMR plan to keep their helping hands and knitting needles busy all year.
“There is a program called ‘afghans for Afghans’ that we are looking into for next year,” Wolfe said.

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