Monday, November 29, 2010

Teaching and Learning

Today was our first knit and crochet workshop with the ladies of W.O.W. (Women of Wealth). As you might have read, last Friday, we met Tilllie (with 3 "L"s) who organizes women residents at the HSC to come together for support and resources. We agreed to begin lessons in knitting and crochet for the W.O.W. group. Myself, my daughter Meghan, Cattryn, Susan and Ellen served as today's teachers (and learners). In all, there were about 10 W.O.W. women in this workshop.

In my group, I was teaching (and learning how to teach) knitting - starting with casting-on. Eager to learn (and unwittingly, teaching) were Kimberly, LeAnne, and May.  This is the most difficult step in learning how to knit, and there were equal parts of frustration and success! Before we knew it, our time was up, and although we wanted to let the ladies take the yarn and needles for practicing, for some, it wasn't feasible. Seems the needles might be construed as weapons for those on campus that are in the Level One sleeping room*. So, we need to work on that situation because practice is pretty essential to establishing your own hand movement memory for knitting.

We'll be back though, and I hope that they'll be back. They will be establishing their hand movement memories, and we'll be establishing memories of these women that I suspect we will keep forever.

*At CASS, there are 3 levels of nightly shelter. In Level One, it is first come, first serve after 4:00 pm. - and out by 7:00 am the next morning - no beds are reserved. All these beds are bunk beds arranged in rows in a large, non-private room. If a resident decides to participate in "the system", they are assessed and given a program to follow that is designed to help them to self-sufficiency. Once in the program, they are eligible for Level Two shelter, which is another room divided by low partitions - two beds to each cubicle. These beds are reserved, but if you don't show by 8:00 pm, you lose your Level Two bed. Continuing on and reaching certain program goals, residents can become eligible for Level Three shelter which consists of the same partitions as Level Two, but in a different room and with only one bed per partition, a desk and a lamp. From there, successful participants leave the HSC and the hope is that they are on the road to self-sufficiency.  

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