Thursday, November 10, 2011

Warm gesture

A nice writeup about last week's Craft-In by Caroline Zilk, with two outstanding photos by Rusty Hubbard, appeared in today's paper!  I'm reproducing the text below since much of the paper is behind a subscription paywall, and I don't know how many of you will have access to it.  All content copyright held by its creators and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Warm gesture

Honors College students hold Craft-In for CASA

Staff Writer 

    Several members of the Honors College at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway carried around pointy sticks on Nov. 3.
    “So don’t mess with us,” Honors College Associate Dean Donna Bowman joked.
    The Honors College held a Craft-In service project for its seminar called “Craft Wisely: The Past, Present and Future of Handmade.”
    Bowman’s students were responsible for designing the project and choosing an 
organization to work with: Court Appointed Special Advocates.
    “Our syllabus specifies that there be at least one public event associated with the project, and the Craft-Ins fulfill that requirement,” Bowman said.
    “It’s an idea carried over from the same course last fall, where we did a Craft-In on campus to promote the work of Conway Cradle Care.”
    On the steps of Ferguson Chapel on the afternoon of Nov. 3, Honors College students, as well as other members of the UCA campus and Conway communities, knitted and crocheted scarves and other warm 
winter items for children in the court and foster systems throughout the state.
    UCA student Monica Runge said CASA provided the volunteers a list of names with the children’s favorite colors so the students could personalize their projects.
    Runge is a biology major who happens to love knitting, and she said she was one of many excited to help out CASA.
    “I believe everyone involved in this project is very strongly motivated to help other people,” she said. “We almost feel a personal connection making these items 
for these kids. It’s great to be able to help them just a little bit.”
    Bowman said CASA has partnerships with several groups on campus, especially students and faculty in the family and consumer sciences department, who often make things for CASA’s clients.
    The Honors College’s Craft-In is the first of two public events in conjunction with the project. The second will be a “buy one, give one” sale on Dec. 1.
    “We will have handmade 
winter accessories for sale in conjunction with items made specifically for CASA clients — kids who have been removed from abuse or neglect in their homes and are in the care of the court,” Bowman said. “Customers can buy the linked items, keep the one that’s for sale and donate the one made for the CASA child.”
    Bowman said this project is important because many of her students have benefited from a good support system and parents who took care of their children, while, on the other hand, the CASA kids have had a tough break.
    “It’s a long-term drag on their self-esteem and their 
future,” Bowman pointed out. “Some of them will have good outcomes, and some are going to have a lot of trouble.”
    However, if Bowman and the Honors College have anything to do with it, the children at least all will have warm hats, scarves and mittens this winter.
    “These kids are going to be our neighbors pretty soon. Maybe if they’re lucky, they’ll be on our campus, and they need any step back up that we can give them,” Bowman said.
    Staff writer Caroline Zilk can be reached at (501) 244-4326 or

Sarah Rawlinson, a junior at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, knits while participating in the Craft-In service project held Nov. 3 by the UCA Honors College to benefit the youths in the Court Appointed Special Advocates program.

RUSTY HUBBARD/RIVER VALLEY & OZARK EDITION University of Central Arkansas students participate in the Honors College Craft-In, a service project for the CASA program held Nov. 3 on the steps of the university’s Ferguson Chapel.

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