Officially Technological

Thursday, July 28, 2005

How Crochet Makes The World A Better Place - One Delinquent At A Time

I was talking to an old friend of mine (the friend isn't old - our friendship is) and he works in a home for teenaged boys who are all sexual-offenders. However, it's not a juvenile detention center, it's a group home. Somewhere along the line the State of Indiana has declared these boys to be "capable of rehabilitation" which means instead of them going to jail they go to this group home and are counseled, and fed through this program with the intention that after the program they will be able to re-enter society and become respectable citizens.

So, one afternoon, Brian came to work to hear the news that a volunteer would be coming in to work with the boys. Always a fan of volunteers, Brian asked what this person would be doing with the boys. She would teach them how to crochet. You can imagine Brian's skepticism that a group of rowdy boys would sit and listen to a woman as she taught them one of the most feminine crafts known to man. Yet, the boss was adamant. Ginger would come and teach the boys how to crochet.

Brian dreaded the day that Ginger would come. He realized, as his boss evidently could not, that these boys who love basketball, hip-hop, etc. would eat this poor woman alive. He was pleased, therefore, that Ginger's first (and he predicted her last) day would be on his off day.

However, the following day Brian returned to work, and the boys weren't outside playing basketball, they were sitting on the couch.... crocheting. Brian assured himself that this was a fad and that the boys would forget about. But the next day, upon arrival, Brian found the same scene as the day before. It was the day of Ginger's second visit. Brian was not surprised (as you likewise will not be) that Ginger was a fifty-something lady who wore brightly colored capris, wild tie-dyed or flowered shirts and had red hair. But what did surprise him was how these boys reacted to her. Bounding to the door, they thrusted their crocheted patches in her face and demanded her to inspect them and teach them more.

This was over a month ago. The fad has not only not worn off but is now running rampant as Brian is now making special trips to yarn stores to find yarn for these boys to use. Sometimes he takes them with him, and when he does they'll explain very calmly to the clerks that they have recently learned to crochet and want such-and-such color and such-and-such weight for a blanket for their sister/brother/mother/etc. Apparently they're getting pretty good at crocheting, and have been easier to live with likewise. Since Ginger, the red-haired fifty-something, showed up the boys have been better behaved and are now encouraged to crochet when they start losing their tempers.

SURVEY: Is this story

A) The fantasy of the people who wrote the song "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing"
B) The truth (whereby proving the old adage: 'Truth is stranger than fiction.')
posted by Julie at 8:54 AM


B. They might be better behaved right now, but it doesn't mean they will improve their way of life.

If they were from the streets and they attempt to crochet when some homey gets in their face...they'll probably die.

28/7/05 12:04  

I know this is true because I've heard about the same sort of thing in all kinds of delinquent centers around the country. It's really so great that this woman can help the boys. I love this story! Ask your friend if he'd like any donations? I have some yarn and pattern books I'd be happy to send if he thinks the boys would use them.

As for Doug's comment, maybe learning to crochet will help lead to the development of other skills and help them get off "the streets".

28/7/05 13:04  

Doug, totally not true. You are forgetting that they would be armed with crochet hooks.

They could poke the homey's eyes out.

28/7/05 13:21  

Hobbies are useful. I thought it was such a great story I had to share it. It totally cracked me up.

28/7/05 13:22  

Brooke - very true, good call. Of course, knitting would be even better in that case, but still, a needle is a needle.

28/7/05 13:23  

Funny Post! I'm from Michigan too.

28/7/05 14:00  


You may be correct. I tend to be cynical about ...well everything. However, having dealt with and taught for a while at an Inner City school, it's very difficult to not by cynical. Granted there will always be those few who pull themselves out of the rubble. But the sad truth is that the majority will continue on their path and become a burden on society.

Not that I'm saying we shouldn't try to help all means we should and I do/did (I'm no longer teaching). I'm just saying that the reality of the matter is that it probably won't have any lasting effect for the masses.

28/7/05 15:04  

Either way, it keeps them out of trouble now and they're learning a skill, for kids that never got a break, skills of any kind would be useful. It also gives them an appropriate female influence. They probably haven't had too many of them.

28/7/05 15:15  

I doubt they've had any really good influences. Maybe I should go teach them some good skills. You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.

28/7/05 15:54  

As long as they can fit them in their lockers.

28/7/05 16:29  

Oh the tangled yarns we weave. Actually Doug you'd be surprised at the success rate of skilled based therapies are higher than you might think. One can not expect deeply ingrained habits, mental states, and sin to be removed by one single form of intervention. A therapy program like this can turn the light bulb on in some kids head and get them focused on something other then themselves. If you can accomplish that oh baby there is hope. Either way man's efforts will always fail on the systematic level. Only God, only God.

Good points thought Doug and Bethany.

29/7/05 00:15  

girls want guys who they can fit in their lockers?

1/8/05 10:46  

num-chucks, Chris, num-chucks.

1/8/05 16:27  

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