on the job: crafting with beneficiaries

Posted by on Jul 11, 2011 in craftiness, on the job, veronica | 2 Comments

Radu Update

Radu has been regularly mentioned on my blog (here and here); don’t tell, but he’s a favorite. He’s the kid who’s really into crocheting and knitting on a loom. So much so, that he wants to crochet 24/7 — at home, at the center, in winter, in summer. I taught him to use a crochet hook so he could crochet at home without a loom, but his troubles with dexterity really made it a chore rather than a joy to crochet. And so, my darling mother sent over a set of looms for Radu to take home. Radu was excited, bowled over, beaming when the looms arrived. And then, Veronica the therapist took over. I chatted with the social workers and we decided that Radu should earn the looms. Since there were four looms, we set four goals — to listen to staff, to speak nicely with others, to not get angry (and when he did, to take deep breaths), and to have good behavior. While we didn’t expect perfection, we did want him to try for 60 days; talk about delaying gratification. I printed out a calendar for us to cross the days off until July 4, when if he had met his goals sufficiently, he’d get his looms to take home. Everyday, he’d come by to see me and check on the looms. He’d handle them and we’d review the expectations. He’d confirm that really, these were ones he could take home and use. I observed several times that when a staff person mentioned the looms, he immediately reigned in his behavior and his speech. Talk about motivation.

Well, here’s a happy, joyful Radu with his own set of looms on 4 July.

Ana Maria’s Rug

My mom also sent latch hook canvas for the workshops and Ana has been working on her own design for a rug using leftover yarns we found. This is her first and its quite colorful and plush. She’s excited to start a second (an order from a colleague) and she’s got a third that she’s starting at home.

I think that my favorite part of both of these projects is that not only have we enabled beneficiaries to be expressive, productive, and included while at the center with beautiful, sell-able outcomes but we also have given these beneficiaries hobbies that they enjoy to do at home — making their lives more full and meaningful.


  1. Melody C.
    July 11, 2011

    V, this is a fantastic post! The smiles alone are worth your efforts, but this story conveys so much more success than just smiles. Great work…yeah, it was work, wasn’t it. Thank you for sharing Radu’s interest, hurdles, and wins with your readers!

  2. John K
    August 6, 2011



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