Project 28: Hope for Louisiana

Craft Hope is teaming up with the Louisiana 4-H and 4-H organizations around the nation to collect school supplies for the children affected by the recent flooding in southern Louisiana. Many school aged youth were in the midst of planning for the new school year and lost everything to the floods. Now, many of them are cleaning their homes and have not thought about school, or school supplies.

Craft Hope is jumping right in with 4-H to gather school supplies to send to the students in Louisiana. And here is where the handmade part comes in. We are asking that you craft something special for these children to go along with donated school supplies or you could just send handmade school supply items for these children. Some of the ideas I came up with off the top of my head are bookmarks, art kits, book bags, pencil pouches, backpacks, and totes. You could make a tote and fill it with a few school supplies. Make a pencil bag and fill it with markers. The opportunities are endless and they need everything.

Please be creative and thoughtful in your giving. You guys are the most caring group and I know you will come up with some great ideas. Share them with us on our Facebook page. Since the items will be mailed directly to the 4-H offices in southern Louisiana please take pictures and post them here on Facebook to inspire others. Also, please share this event with anyone and everyone. Craft Hope.

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Ship your donations to:
LSU Ag Center Warehouse
School Supply Flood Relief
4161 Gourrier Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

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“People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.” ― Beth Clark

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Project 27: Partners with Ethiopia

Craft Hope has been honored to work with so many wonderful charities throughout the past few years. To date we have donated over 156,000 handmade items to charities worldwide! I am always humbled when an organization contacts me asking for help and several reached out to me this fall. I’m still in the process of lining up projects for 2016 and excited to see the difference we will make.

Without further ado, I am so very excited to announce Project 27 :: Partners With Ethiopia.

Partners With Ethiopia works to support their indigenous partners in southern Ethiopia who are running sponsorship programs, economic development, and food security programs. They are working hard to educate and empower orphans, vulnerable children, and widows to break the cycle of poverty, and offer hope and independence for their future. Sounds like a PERFECT fit for Craft Hope. Let’s do this.

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Presently, Partners With Ethiopia has approximately 180 sponsored children of all ages, with around 270 more children who have been profiled by their indigenous partner organization, Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC), but are currently unsponsored.  Sponsored kids visit the program 6 days a week, and receive a hot meal, tutoring, health care, hygiene training, and caring mentoring. If you are interested in sponsoring a child click here.

Partners With Ethiopia has asked us to make bracelets to spread goodwill among the children. Bracelets, you guys! We made bracelets back in Project 12 — way back in 2011 — and I’m super excited to see how many we can make this time.

Thanks to Ashley (Under the Sycamore) and Rebecca (Better Life Bags) for sharing photos with us from Project 12! If you haven’t read Ashley’s story, you should go now. I remember her going through that years ago with her sweet daughter and it still brings tears to my eyes that they were able to focus on making bracelets for others while going through such a tough time.

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27eth4They will be traveling to Ethiopia in March so we have set a deadline for March 1st, 2016. Please make sure all bracelets have arrived by this date so they can get them ready to travel.

As far as the bracelets go, you can make any type of bracelet. They can be beaded, fabric, or woven. It’s totally up to you. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. This is a great project to get kids involved!!

Please send the bracelets to:

Renee Stauffer

707 Ferris Road

Nicholville NY, 12965

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Update: Renee, VP of Partners With Ethiopia, will be traveling over at the end of March, with her 14 y/o daughter Lydia, and friend (and board president) Ingrid Olson. They would LOVE to be able to take a bracelet to each child, to let them know they are loved and that someone on the other side of the world is rooting for them. Since they have boys and girls of all ages, this is a great project for crafters of all ages to take their creativity and run with it!  All colors are welcome, and as an FYI, the Ethiopian colors are red, green & yellow.

Spread love, Craft Hope!

Project 26: Country Woman Magazine

A few months ago, Country Woman Magazine contacted Craft Hope looking for ways we could partner on an extra-special project. Country Woman is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year and wanted to offer their readers both a craft that’s fun  to make and a chance to be creative for a cause.

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I immediately thought of The Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps orphans in India and internationally to reach their full potential. If you have been with Craft Hope from the beginning, you might remember Project 2 :: Miracle Foundation where we collected over 2,800 handmade blankets, bibs, booties, etc. for orphans in India.

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It’s founder Caroline Boudreaux dreamed up the perfect project — finger puppets! “Puppets are great teaching tools for children,” Caroline says. “They help kids learn basic problem solving, how to communicate their feelings and basic skills for making friends.” And, she adds “anything made with the extra ingredient of love makes a real difference.”

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Country Woman’s Craft Editor Vanessa Tsumura designed three adorable felt finger puppets – based on animals children in India would be familiar with – a monkey, elephant, and bird. The project is super-simple and inexpensive to make – the ideal activity for a Scout troop or craft group.

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You can get the full instructions for the finger puppets, along with directions on how to mail them to the Miracle Foundation, in the Feb/Mar issue of Country Woman or online.

Of course, you Craft Hope folks are the most creative lot I know so the sky is the limit for creativity. You don’t can make any puppets you would like. We just offered up these patterns as suggestions. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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The deadline for Project 26 is March 9, 2015.

I would love to see your puppets so be sure to post them to our Facebook page as well. And please share our project with others through all of your social media outlets. We are honored to be featured in Country Woman Magazine and kicking off 2015 with this great project with The Miracle Foundation.

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Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. In fact it’s the only thing that ever did.” — Margaret Mead

Project 25: We are Kenya

My daughter (Chloe, 4) is in my lap as I open my computer. She asks me, ‘What are we doing for Craft Hope?’

My kids are very aware when a project is going on. They have witnessed first-hand the overwhelming love and support that has come to our doorstep. It has come in the form of handmade goodies from all around the world. They remember our house being overtaken by sock monkeys. The know the blessings that are shared worldwide. We, too, are blessed by the process.

So, I tell Chloe that we are going to help children in Kenya. She then asks to see pictures of the kids and we spend about twenty minutes talking about the kids, talking about the adults in the pictures and she’s able to grasp her young mind around the fact that their lives are very different than ours. My other girls (Julia, 11 and Makena, 9) immediately chime in that they want to help. Julia says, ‘Will you teach us how to sew so we can help?’ Of course, my dear. I would be honored. I tell them ‘In fact I’ll teach you how to crochet so you can make a scarf.’ The girls are on board. They are already talking about yarn colors.
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Be the salt and the light.

I am overwhelmingly honored and humbled to announce Project 25 :: We Are Kenya.

We Are Kenya is an organization who believes that one way to change a society is to change the future of it’s youth. They are a nonprofit dedicated to feeding and educating sweet children in the slums of Soweto, Kenya. Soweto is the second largest slum in Kenya and home to We Are Kenya. Soweto is a large slum whose people daily struggle with sickness, crime, hunger, and hopelessness that results from severe poverty. In a slum where many children have one or no parent, the daily quest for food supersedes any hope for education.

We Are Kenya partners with Provision Education Center to ensure that each student receives not only a hot meal, but also the tools necessary for proper education. Their goal is to see that each child not only has a chance to succeed, but is a success.

The PEC, through its partnership with We Are Kenya, mobilizes community members to assist in feeding and educating the nearly 200 children enrolled.  Each child receives breakfast and lunch and attends classes taught by university-trained teachers.  For some, this is the only meal that he/she will eat on a given day. In addition to the school day, PEC provides shelter and care for several of the neediest children. Twenty children live at the PEC.

Mother Theresa says, “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.” PEC seeks to fill the emotional and spiritual gaps for these children as well.

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Y’all ready?!?

They have called upon us and asked us to help them. Let’s do this! Here is what they need…

They need 25 homemade twin size quilts. (Update 9/29/14: We have met our goal of people signed up for quilt donations. Thank you!!) These children are orphans or were living in vulnerable situations. They recently opened a new dorm for these girls and boys. It would be wonderful if they could snuggle to sleep under their own special twin sized quilts.

You guys, I want to send them BEAUTIFUL handmade quilts. I know we have some incredibly talented quilters in our midst. I would love to be able to deliver the most perfect, full of love quilts that we can to We Are Kenya. If you are interested in making a quilt, I ask that you please email me to let me know. They don’t need 2,000 quilts so I’m going to limit it to the first 25 people who email me offering to make a quilt. I know the effort that goes into quilt making and I pray we get 25 beautiful quilts for them. Please email me at chikaustin@gmail.com if you would like to make a quilt for the children who live at the Provision Education Center.

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They need handmade stuffed animals. You guys are the best softie makers ever. I have seen some of the CUTEST stuffed animals come our way. They will take as many as you can make so let us overwhelm them with our love.

They need handmade knitted/crochet hats, gloves, and scarves. Approximately 200 to be exact for kids ages 4-15. Winters get cold at night and we need to keep these sweet kids bundled up. Sewn hats and scarves are also welcome.

Finally, they need homemade reusable sanitary napkins. These would allow girls to continue their education. Many girls are forced to stop their education because their families cannot afford sanitary napkins once they start their monthly. This is so heartbreaking. These are made with flannel and terry cloth. There are many tutorials online.

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Karen, from We Are Kenya, and her family have graciously offered to collect and coordinate delivery of all of the items. Thank you Karen! Thank you for contacting me and giving us this opportunity to help you guys. We whole-heartedly accept and hope to fill your suitcases full of handmade love.

Friends, the deadline for this project will be November 15, 2014. Please try to have all of your handmade items to them by this date.

Here is the mailing address for your donations:

We Are Kenya
10914 Hillcrest Drive
Laurel, MD 20723

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“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” ― Mother Teresa

Project 24: Capes for Kids

I am so honored to announce that Project 24 :: Capes for Kids is being featured in the December/January issue of FamilyFun magazine as a partnership with Enchanted Makeovers.

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Project 24 is running with the theme, “Don’t wait for a superhero. Be one!”

Over the years we have done many projects with incredible organizations. I am super-duper excited about this partnership for Project 24 with Enchanted Makeovers. You see, Enchanted Makeovers was founded by Terry Grahl, who had the extraordinary vision to take women’s and children’s shelters and turn them into something beautiful. They started a program called Capes for Kids that simply melts my heart and truly aligns with my personal beliefs.

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Capes for Kids represents HOPE. Since every cape is unique and handmade with love, each child who receives one will feel their own superpowers, and know that they have the strength and ability to create whatever they want for their lives.

As children, we often play dress up. But beyond just having fun, the clothing or costumes we put on our body send us a message. Many children play ‘superhero’ because the messages that superheroes ‘save the day’ are everywhere, but Enchanted Makeovers believes it’s not about calling on ‘superman’ or supergirl’ to swoop in. It’s about calling on our own strength, from within, that we never knew we had. It’s about the power of our minds, tapping into our imaginations. It’s about putting on our daily armor and believing in ourselves. When our programs were being developed, the goal was to teach the children life skills as well as coping skills. The power of imagination is infused throughout. As Dr. Victor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning pointed out, when you can imagine survival, you will survive. For the children, the Capes for Kids program ignites the imagination and creativity.

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Since 2007, Enchanted Makeovers’ mission has been to transform homeless shelters for women and children into places that inspire behavioral and psychological change. Through their various projects, mentoring programs, and makeovers of the physical space, women and children are introduced to a way of thinking that helps to shift their outlook about their lives and possibilities for the future. The shelter is transformed into a beacon of hope. Mentoring programs such as the Sacred Sewing Room, Stepping into the Dream, and Capes for Kids develop important life and coping skills.

FamilyFun and Craft Hope have partered with Enchanted Makeovers, a nonprofit organization with chapters in all 50 states that turns drab shelters for women and children into happy, comfortable places. We have been featured in Family/Fun’sYou can read all about our partnership on FamilyFun’s website here. Go on and read it, I’ll wait for you to come back!

We are asking folks to help with Enchanted Makeovers’ Capes for Kids project by crafting homemade superhero capes for children living in shelters. What an incredible way to empower a group of children who need it most. Empower a child to be a SUPERHERO!

Make a cape with your family, make a bunch with your Girl Scout troop, or throw a cape party and make dozens. You’ll be doing something important — giving hope to kids in crisis — while being creative and having fun.

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“With a handmade item,” Terry says, “all this positive energy and love is built into it. And people feel that. You can’t get that off a shelf.”

How you can help!

  1. Make a cape, or several, following these directions or any other cape pattern you can find.
  2. Take a photo of your finished cape. Creative posing is encouraged!
  3. Upload your photo to FamilyFun’s Facebook page and clicking on the ‘capes for kids’ tab. And we would love for you to upload your photo to Craft Hope’s Facebook page.
  4. Mail your capes to:

Enchanted Makeovers/FamilyFun
12663 Hipp Street
Taylor, Michigan 48180

The deadline for Project 24 is January 31, 2014.

Need directions on how to make a cape? FamilyFun has posted a super easy tutorial for you. Pinterest also has a ton and google is your friend too. They are really easy to make and you can make quite a few quickly.

We want to teach these kids to not wait for a superhero… be one!

Now skidaddle to the store and get your own copy of FamilyFun magazine and read all about Project 24 :: Capes for Kids. Together we can empower thousands of kids with their own superhero cape! Let’s do this.

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