Maria Jones, a teacher at Sam Adams Elementary, helps third-grader Terryn Williams with crocheting her scarf. Terriana Walker and Isaiah Silverthorn are also pictured crocheting. The students are a part of "Close-Knit Group," a program that teaches them how to knit blankets and scarves for the less fortunate in the community. (Vigilant photo/AARON MUELLER)
Maria Jones, a teacher at Sam Adams Elementary, helps third-grader Terryn Williams with crocheting her scarf. Terriana Walker and Isaiah Silverthorn are also pictured crocheting. The students are a part of "Close-Knit Group," a program that teaches them how to knit blankets and scarves for the less fortunate in the community. (Vigilant photo/AARON MUELLER)

Archived Story

Kids trade playtime to help others

Published 6:10pm Thursday, December 17, 2009

By AARON MUELLER
Cassopolis Vigilant

For most elementary school students, recess is a holy, untouchable 30 minutes, but not for a group of third- through sixth-graders at Sam Adams Elementary School.
These students give up three recesses a week to learn to crochet scarves and blankets for people less fortunate in the community.
For children like fourth-grader Caleb Steensma, giving up recess is worth it to help others.
“I do it, because it’s for people who don’t have winter stuff, and I like helping out people a lot. We only give up three recesses a week,” Steensma said. “I just like it. The people here are good teachers and good helpers.”
The program, called “Close-Knit Group,” was started last year by Maria Jones, a teacher at the school. Last year the school donated 150 of the students’ scarves to shelters in the area.
This year blankets and scarves will find their way to the domestic violence shelter in Three Rivers, Helping Hands of Cassopolis, Goodwills in Elkart and Three Rivers and an emergency shelter in Benton Harbor.
Jones said the program has not only been good for the community but also for the students.
“They really enjoy it,” she said. “They like feeling like they really know what they’re doing and helping each other along.”
Connie Bailey, a fourth-grader in the program, enjoys her new-found skill so much that she practices at home.
“My favorite part is learning how to do it and learning how to make something for somebody else,” she said. “I made a Christmas sock for my mom over the weekend. It only took me one day.”

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