Thursday, January 24, 2013

"A Little Comfort" : Project 10

Did you know that 1 in 4* or, in some research ,1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 or, in some research, 1 in 6* boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday?

Nearly 3/4 of victims will not tell anyone for at least a year. Nearly half of victims will wait at least 5 years before telling. Some never tell. **

90% of cases are never reported. Ever. Which mean the majority of sexual offenders are walking the streets free and unknown to society.
A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.*****

The Abusers:  30-40% are immediate or extended family members of the victim.***
As many as 50% of abusers know their victims and are in a position of trust with the victim and/or family.***
As many as 40% of abusers are larger or older children - siblings, cousin, friends, neighbors, community members ****

Only 10% are estimated to be strangers****

The VictimsThe average age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years.
50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are under age twelve
20% of children will receive a sexual solicitation via the Internet

The Cost Victims PayChildren that are sexually abused are at a higher risk to suffer from: low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, obesity. attempted suicide or suicide, and prostitution.

This is appalling!  What can we do? 

There are countless people and organizations that are helping these children.  One of them in our area is called, "Break the Cycle"., in Orangevale.  It is run by one woman, Averen Bareggi, who makes jewelry to raise not only awareness but also funds to create and distribute "comfort packs" that are given to law enforcement and other agencies for children reporting abuse. 
These bags are filled with all kinds of things to encourage creativity and comfort.  Things like:  art supplies, children's help books, a Curious George CD, bean bags, journals, gift cards to fun activities and a hand-stamped BRAVE bracelet (made by Averen).
We can help by filling the bags with a couple of the things that go in them. 
For all of you NON-SEWERS...purchase a plain, blank journal and embellish it.  Cover it with fabric, pretty papers or stickers.  Mod-Podge works great for this project! Use your imagination...get creative!
For those of you who DO SEW...Bean bags!  Please use fun, kid friendly fabrics and fill them with natural materials like rice, beans or peas (no plastic little balls, please).  No larger than about 5" x 5".
And, then if you really want to sew, make the drawstring-backpacks for the items to go in.  Please use a sturdy, plain canvas-like material.    HERE is a link to show the construction of the backpack style that is needed.  Please, make them 10" x 12" in size.
For more information on the actual items and to see the bags, please visit Break the Cycle website.  There is a great video of Averen, telling about the backpacks. 
SO...crafty people!  Let's get going and help give a little comfort to some kids. 
Deadline:  March 15th  April 1st
For those of you local and you want to sew...please contact us for fabric!

Let us know when you are finished with your project, via email or comment and we'll collect them!

*(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006)
**(Smith et al., 2000; Broman-Fulks et al., 2007)
***Elliot, M., Browne, K., & Kilcoyne, J. (1995). Child sexual abuse prevention: What offenders tell us. Child Abuse & Neglect, 5, 579-594
****Kilpatrick, D., Saunders, B.W., & Smith, D. (2003). Youth victimization: Prevalence and implications. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice Report.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Giving Tuesday! Week 3

Wow!  It's hard to believe another week has gone by, as we have been very busy here at Craft 4 Change.  We are getting ready for our next project and also had a HUGE donation of fabric and yarn in the last couple of days.  More on that's this weeks featured organization that is giving life at a time:

Krochet Kids International

"Buy a hat. Change a life" ~~ That is their motto.

It all started when three high school boys, Kohl, Travis and Stewart were taught to crochet.  These guys made their own hats for snowboarding. Soon, kids in their school wanted them, so they begin taking orders and selling them to help pay for prom expenses.  Life moved on and they were off to college. 

While on a trip to Uganda, one of the guys was so moved that he wanted to do something to help the impoverished women earn a decent living.  So, back to crocheting they TEACH these women to crochet and make hats. 

 The women are paid a fair wage and the hats are sold online and in some retail stores.  They have also expanded into Peru.  Each hat has a tag with the signature of the lady who made it and you can read her story (and send her a thank you note) on their website.  Krochet Kids International.

"Through a unique model we are empowering the women of Northern Uganda and Peru with the assets, skills, and knowledge to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. The result is long lasting and sustainable change."  ~~From Krochet Kids website. 

Please take time to read their story on their website and if you a hat.  Change a life. 

These young people simply amaze us at Craft 4 Change!  What a example of what a small idea can do, to change a life. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Giving Tuesday!

It's Tuesday again and you know what that means?  Yep...time to recognize another organization that is giving back in a big way!  This week we are introducing:

Hands 4 Hope Youth

They are an organization located in El Dorado Hills, California.  They are group of kids, from kindergarten through 12th grade that help out local people in need.  They organize food drives (they call them "blitzes") for local food banks, make blankets and lunches for the homeless, provide "boutique style" shopping for low income people, collect and make soldier care packages, as well as other things. 

Here is their company overview (from their Facebook page):
Youth Making A Difference, dba Hands4Hope, is a non-profit, non-denominational, youth driven outreach organization based in El Dorado Hills, CA, and was founded in February 2008. The organization's mission is to make a difference in the lives of others with positive actions, kind words, and visions of hope. Hands4Hope is comprised of youth volunteers ranging in age from kindergarten through 12th grade, who mostly reside in El Dorado Hills; however, the organization plans to expand its volunteer base from both Sacramento and El Dorado Counties.

Hands4Hope is led by a Youth Advisory Council, which is mentored by a Parent Advisory Council. The organization currently has over 200 youth members and eight public school partners to assist with outreach efforts. The organization strives to continually encourage youth to understand areas of need in their communities where they can make a difference and have a positive impact, offer opportunities for leadership development, create awareness of others' circumstances, inspiring compassion and action, and support and/or fill voids in local outreach efforts.

These kids are amazing!  What a wonderful way to raise our children, to be good citizens and care for others.  Visit their web site to see more of what they are doing and past projects...and if you live in the area and have kids...get them involved! 

Hats off to Hands4Hope!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Giving Tuesday!

Yesterday, we introduced a new feature to our blog, called "Giving Tuesday".  So, without further ado, let's introduce:

Vivienne Harr, founder of Make-A-Stand-Lemonade!  This young girl was so moved by a picture that depicts two young boys (child slaves) with huge stones attached to their backs, hauling them down a hill from a quarry, that she said,  "We have to do something".  And do something she did!  In May of 2012, she started selling lemonade for $2 a glass, trying to raise $150,000 to free 500 child slaves.  All of her money goes to the Not For Sale Campaign, an organization that fights human trafficking and modern day slavery around the world. 

At $2 a glass, it would take an eternity, so she started giving away her lemonade, asking people to "Give what's in your heart"...and did they give!  She now gets an average of $20 a glass and YES, she achieved her goal (and beyond) on day #173 of "not selling" her lemonade.

But, she isn't stopping there. 

It has been so successful that her organic, fair-trade, 100% dee-licious (her words!) lemonade is being bottled...yep, to be given away and she only asks, "give what's in your hearts."

She has been featured on several news casts and television shows, all accessible from her site.

You can read her story on her Make-A-Stand-Lemonade website and "not buy" (because, we are not-for-sale) her lemonade.  Also, we have a link on our Facebook  page to hers. 

Oh...did we mention that she is only 8 years old! 

So, do you know of a person or organization that you would like us to feature?  Send us an email or message on Facebook (Please don't post a link directly on our page, just include it in a private message).

Monday, January 7, 2013

Giving Back

First there was  Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday.  Oh, and don't forget Cyber Monday!  But, in 2012 there was also, Giving Tuesday. 

What is Giving Tuesday?  According to the website, it's mission statement is:

 #GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.

Now, THAT is a great idea.

We at Craft 4 Change, really like  love that. Why wait for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving?  We think it would be fun to celebrate every Tuesday!  So from now on, we will feature a person or an organization that is truly giving back...on Tuesdays

There are so many good ones out there and we have a few in mind, but would love to hear from you.  So, if you know of any organizations or persons that you would like us to consider featuring, please send us an email or a message on our Facebook page  (Please don't post a link directly on the page, just include it in the private message).  We will check out each and every one and select one a week to feature.  Sounds fun, yes!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reflecting Back...Looking Forward

It's hard to believe that a little over two years ago Craft 4 Change was "born".  October 13, 2010 is the exact date that I launched our first project, "Wrap them in Love", by making scarves for the women and children of St. John's Shelter, in Sacramento.  YOUR generosity was amazing!  I had no idea where this "leap of faith" would take me.  And, it truly was a GIANT leap for me.  Here's a little back story on how Craft 4 Change came to be:

Like our "Humble Beginnings" page states, I had been surfing the web one day looking for some sort of charity or group that I could help with, by providing handcrafted items.  I don't even know how I came across it, but did find a group called, Craft Hope, that did just that.  They select a charity and a project and put it on their blog.  Just like that, people from all over the world would create beautiful items and send them to Craft Hope to deliver!  It was amazing!  They would receive hundreds and thousands of items. I participated in a few of the projects, loved it, but wanted more.  (They selected charities from all over the country and the world, but I really wanted to do something a bit more local.)

So, I came up with a similar format and customized it for the Sacramento, California area.  I worked on the name, logo, projects, blog, etc.  I started the blog (only I could see it)...and waited.  And, waited and waited.  I was all ready, but afraid to put myself out there.  Would anyone read it?  Would anyone actually participate?  Would the agencies that I contacted want our help? I was a nervous wreck!

What actually prompted me to "just do it"?  Well, the church I attend was doing the study, "One Month to Live", Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life, by Kerry & Chris Shook.  It was going along just fine and dandy, when on day 27, the title was:  Starfish - Making a World of Difference.  The story goes like this:  ~~ Power of One ~~
A businessman visiting a resort community left his hotel early one morning to take a walk. When he reached the shoreline, he came upon a stunning sight:  countless starfish had washed up on the beach during the night in a high tide. They were still moving, still alive, clambering all over one another, trying to get back into the ocean.  He knew it wouldn't be long until the tropical sun would bake the poor creatures trapped there on the sand.  He wished he could do something, but there were thousands of them, as far as his eye could see, and there was no way he could make a dent in saving them.
So he went on his way.  Walking farther down the beach, he came upon a little boy who leaned over, scooped up a starfish, and flung it like a Frisbee into the ocean.  He repeated the process over and over again, picking up speed, obviously trying to save as many as possible.
Once the man realized what the little boy was doing, he felt it was his responsibility to help the boy by informing him of a harsh life lesson.  He walked up to the child and said, "Son, let me tell you.  What you're doing here is noble, but you can't save all these starfish. There are thousands of them.  The sun's getting really hot, and they're all going to die.  You might as well just go on your way and play.  You really can't make a difference here."
The little boy didn't say anything at first; he just stared at the businessman.  Then he stooped down and picked up another starfish, flung it out into the ocean as far as he could, and said, "Well, I just made all the difference for that one."
 That was it!  I couldn't help everyone, but I could help at least one person.  So what if no one read my blog?  So what if I was the only one who made things?  So what?  I took that HUGE leap and launched the blog and project on October 13, 2010.  I printed out flyer's and hung them in our local craft stores, the library and anywhere else that people would let me.  I sent emails to all of my family, friends, bible study ladies and waited.  Wow!  Was I surprised at how generous everyone was!  The first project produced over 90 scarves!  It was amazing...ask, and they will help.  Tears of joy and I was humbled beyond words.
We are ending 2012 with a bang!  Blankets, bags, scarves, hats, and other items have been delivered to those in need, thanks to YOU.  People from all over California and even a few from other states have participated in our projects.  I am truly humbled by your kind hearts, encouraging words,  support and generosity.  I have "met"  the most wonderful people through this blog or on Facebook.  I love each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. 

As we move into 2013, look for some new things for Craft 4 Change.  You have encouraged and inspired me to push even further to make a difference, one life at a time. 
 ~~ Robyne~~