Knitting helps residents help others and themselves

A coordinator on the East Coast wrote: I’ve been doing a “Stitch & Chat” group with my shelterresidents. They can come and do whatever type of stitching they prefer, butI also teach knitting basics if they are interested. We meet weekly for 90minutes. One of my residents just came to me the other day very excited  she said that since she started knitting, she stopped having panic attacks!

We have only met FIVE times so far, and we are already seeing these amazing
and unexpected benefits…
–The women have something POSITIVE in their lives to look forward to (“Are
we having group tonight? Huh? Huh? Huh?”).
–They have something they can do together. Some of them will sit in the
living room and knit together and chat, instead of watching TV or going out
to smoke.
–They’ve learned a new, healthier technique to cope with stress.
–They get to have fun with me (their case manager/counselor) in a
non-structured, non-“work” environment – and that has been a BIG help in
getting them to open up to me, feel comfortable with me.
–They trust me more because the get to know me as a human, not just their
case mgr/counselor – which means we can get more “work” accomplished. I’ve
noticed that they have been much more willing to come to me and let me help
them work towards their goals.
–The group itself is a sneaky support-group-in-disguise – they think they
are coming to knit and socialize, and what really ends up happening is that
they start talking about their experiences, supporting each other, listening
to one another.
–Knitting offers a very tangible sense of accomplishment.
–They gain self-esteem and self confidence (“Hey! Look what I did! I made
my first scarf!” “Wow, I really can do this!” “This is easier than I
thought!”)
–They get positive feedback and compliments on their accomplishments
(“Wow – I love the colors that you picked for this project!” “That looks
great!” “You are really coming along!” “Show me how you did that!”)
IT’S SOOOOOO COOL!!! I never expected such an outcome!

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