A St Aloysius College program led by student volunteers has provided more than 100 blankets for some of the most marginalised members of Adelaide’s community.
The ‘Blankets of Love’ program involves students, staff and even family members giving up their lunchtimes to handcraft large knitted blankets.
The program has been running for three years after being started by special education teacher Wendy Heuzenroeder, and now comprises more than 30 students as well as many staff members, including Principal Paddy McEvoy, Deputy Principal Christine Simpson and Year 8 Coordinator Rachel Gould.
A small group of Year 7 and 8 students initially began knitting the blanket squares, but now two large groups of students from Years 4 to 7 and Years 8 and 9 meet every week.
Ms McEvoy says the project offers students the chance to further develop a passion for social justice.
“The Blankets of Love program is just one of many ways that our students get to practice mercy in action,” she says.
“It really allows the girls to support a range of communities outside of the school environment and shows them that even small contributions can make a big difference.”
The blankets are donated to a variety of organisations including the Adelaide Day Centre, the Mercy House of Welcome, Birthline and Fred’s Van.
The students deliver the blankets in person, enabling them to see firsthand the impact they can have on the lives of others.
Taylor, Breanna, Paige and Molly are four of the students involved with Blankets of Love and they say that seeing their blankets being put to good use is an “amazing feeling”.
“Knowing we’ve been able to help people in need in the broader community and seeing our blankets being used is really fulfilling,” says Breanna.
As well as helping the wider community, the project also helps strengthen the school community by building friendships in a positive environment, enabling new students to meet people.
“It’s just a really great pastime,” says Taylor. “It’s a good way for us to bond with other students in a social environment where we get to learn new skills while doing something to help others.”
Ms McEvoy says the relaxed atmosphere also helps create a stronger bond between staff and students.
“It’s also a good opportunity for girls across different year levels to interact and learn from one another,” she says.
“It’s about showing the girls that they can contribute and igniting their passion to make a difference in the world.”
Source: The Southern Cross