Building a Strong Core of Volunteers  –  by: Jan Tassie

Spring, 2018

I always wanted to crochet – I’ve only been doing it for about 4 years.  When pregnant with my first son (he’s now 44), I had a left handed person try to teach me.  I’m right handed.  It didn’t go well.  I kept falling asleep and dropping stitches.  The blanket ended up looking like a triangle.  Not Good!

Fast forward to my years working at SBU, I met Shakeera Thomas.  At that time, Shakeera was the Co-Director for the West Campus Stony Brook Stitchers.  Shakeera taught me how to crochet.  She started me off with small projects and always told me that if I made a mistake, to just keep going.  This lesson has served me well.  Slowly, I started producing blankets, shawls and hats.  I was amazed on how beautiful things can be created from a ball of yarn.

Over the Christmas holidays, I learned a new stitch watching a You-tube video.  At first, I found it very hard to follow as it had a 2 step pattern.  The instructor called one row a “structure row”, and the second row a “beautiful fan stitch”.  The pattern grows into the most beautiful lacy shawl.  As I started my project, I realized I had crochet mistakes in the foundation row.  This time I didn’t just keep going.  I pulled out the completed stitches to correct my mistakes.  I thought… you have to fix your mistakes to build a strong foundation.  It’s like life.  You need a strong structure to yield a beautiful outcome.

At the Stony Brook Stitchers, we each bring our own skills to this volunteer effort.  As we work, we should keep our mission statement uppermost in our minds.  It’s the patients and families that we create for and share love with.  As we add new members, we will be able give even more of our time, energy and creativity to patients and families.

The Stony Brook Stitchers recent participation in the American Heart Association Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign reminded me again just how good people are.  Melissa and I received so many calls and emails from people who wanted to get involved.  Our volunteers couldn’t do enough.  We even had professional staff call and ask if their mothers could get involved.  I’d like you all to know how your creations touched the families receiving the “Little Hats” and literature & materials provided from the American Heart Association.  The families were very happy and grateful.

With a strong core group of volunteers we can continue to provide much needed comfort to those in need.  The Stony Brook Stitcher leadership team really hopes our new website will provide you resources that spark your creativity and encourage you to join our efforts to fulfil our mission.

Spread the Word, Spread the Love, One Stitch at a Time,

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