Knit One, Purl One to Build Community
You can’t manufacture a community. You build it one person at a time. You could even say it’s built one stitch at a time. That’s how the Mirota Senior Residence Knitting Club helps to build the sense of community that is shared by residents of LSMNJ’s senior housing program.
“We knit for a cause,” resident and club organizer Jean Wallace says. “We do it for the children.
“The children” are the kids placed with their forever family through LSMNJ’s adoption program. “The Mirota Knitting Club gives hats and gloves and more to every child adopted,” Diane D’Agostino, director of the adoption program reports. “Giving a gift of a handmade knit good is really special. We present them with it at ‘finalization,’ when the court confirms the adoption and the child leaves with their new parents.”
Giving and Receiving
It’s a practical gift for parents who may not have everything they need to start a new family, and it’s a beautiful keepsake once they grow out of it. Plus, like any gift borne of love, it benefits the giver as well as the receiver. For the Mirota residents, knitting for the children gives them the gift of giving back and helping to build community.
“We tried to start a knitting club twice before,” Jean tells us. “Now, with the focus on the adoption families, we have a nice group, and look at all we make!” The table between them all is littered with dozens of beautiful, handmade pieces of all different colors... hats, gloves, scarves, headbands, and baby booties, each tagged with a size and a note. And all of this was just a few week’s work! “We sent a bag to the children just last week,” Stella Smith reports.
“We try to encourage everyone to join, even the men!” knitter Mary Baker says with a smile. Since the club meets right where everyone can see them, in the lobby next to the front entrance, other residents and visitors ask about what they do. “The activity sends a message,” says Robin Schloesser, Mirota’s property manager. “It tells everyone that there’s life here. That this isn’t just a place where people sleep and eat… it tells everyone that we’re a community and ready to help others through our sense of community!”