The Colony Courier-Leader

From left, Natalie Hawkins and Abigail Quinones practice their crochet skills.

The Griffin Middle School crochet club is helping the community one stitch at a time. Earlier this month, local nonprofit Metro Relief distributed crocheted items like hats, scarves and blankets with encouraging notes on them to homeless people in DFW. All of the items were handmade by the students.

The crochet club, led by Nyia Chase, consists of members of all levels. Every nine weeks, students may move on to another club or stay where they are. Chase said the majority of her students choose to keep crocheting.

“It’s amazing what some of these students can do,” Chase said. “Most of them give their completed work as gifts to family. It’s a unique way to connect with someone.”

Students like seventh-grader Natalie Hawkins have been crocheting since the age of 6.

“I learned from my grandma,” Hawkins said. “It took a while, but I got the hang of it.”

Hawkins said some of her more impressive works include a large blanket and a bag.

Metro Relief provided a woman in need with a crocheted beanie from the Griffin MS crochet club.

“She’s better than me,” Chase said.

Other students like seventh-grade student Dominic Capobianco entered the club without any experience. A self-described beginner, Capobianco said he is still learning how to make certain items.

Whatever level they’re at, each item was appreciated by someone, said Paul Ballesteros, Metro Relief outreach director.

Ballesteros visited the students on Wednesday to thank them for the items and share stories from the recipients.

“What you guys did, when you gave us those unique gifts that you can’t find in a store, that aren’t mass produced, that were all made one at a time and they all came with a special note, oh my goodness,” Ballesteros said. “When somebody knew that they were the only one that was ever going to get that, it lights them up.

“When you guys put the effort in to make these things and you give them away, it changes somebody’s outlook on life. It’s dramatic. So even though you’re not necessarily there on that bus with us, you are changing lives when you make those things and you give them away. It’s incredible what it does to a person.”

As Ballesteros showed photos of some of the people who received their gifts, students excitedly pointed out which items they made. They began to realize the fruits of their labor.

“I thought this was something cool to do,” Hawkins said. “It was something small I could do that made a difference for people.”

The Griffin Middle School crochet club.

Ballesteros urged the students to continue practicing their crochet skills.

“You guys are playing an amazing part by trying to create and go on with this gift and get better at it,” he said. “The more you get better at your craft, you’re going to make more and more amazing things to give to others. The person that receives it is the only person on the planet that’s going to receive it. When we can make somebody feel that special, it’s amazing.”

To watch video of Ballesteros’ visit to the class, go to thecolonyleader.com.