Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County‘s Great Futures program at Forest Hill Community High School recently taught students how to hand-knit blankets to help families in need. “Craftivism” (crafts and activism) helps facilitate conversations about social justice issues among students. After the four month program, Great Futures students donated 30 hand-knitted blankets to the nonprofit Riviera Beach Cares Coalition for Homeless Families.
“Craftivism is a movement. You are crafting with your hands and with your heart. It goes into the community to help bring awareness to a cause, be that social, environmental, economic, or any issue that is in some way important to you,” said Great Futures teacher and “craftivism” instructor Monika Pompetzki. “The students are the stars of this project. None of them knew how to knit, and I really valued their trust in this project. I knew that they could do it, and they sure did it!”
Due to CDC guidelines, students learned how to knit virtually, making the experience all the more unique and challenging. After 18 weeks worth of work, the Great Futures students donated the hand-knitted blankets to the families at the Riviera Beach Care Coalition for Homeless Families.
“This was a new experience for me. The process was challenging, but I learned new skills along the way,” said Great Futures student and a freshman at Forest Hill Community High School Tatiana Ronelus. “Being able to donate these blankets to the community makes me feel good because I’m able to help families in need. Craftivism was all new to me. It allowed me to learn how to bring awareness, and I can’t wait to be a part of other ways to bring awareness to the community.”
Forest Hill Community High School is one of four Palm Beach County high schools that hosts a Great Futures program. Locations include Forest Hill Community High School, Lake Worth Community High School, John I. Leonard High School, and Santaluces Community High School’s program will soon start. Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County offers the program free of charge to students with grants from 21st Century Community Learning Centers. By expanding into local high schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County’s goal is to provide extra academic assistance to encourage on-time graduation. Other goals include increasing parent/guardian involvement, improving academic achievement, increasing college and career readiness, engaging students through service-learning and inspiring students to reach their full potential.