Return to Headlines

Guidance Counselor Knits As a Way to Give Back

At the end of October, the guidance counselor’s office at Monaco Elementary started to fill up with bags of donated socks. For the third straight year, MES held Socktober, a service project that collects donated socks as well as other personal care items for the Salvation Army.

guidance counselor sits on couch with knitted hats As the organizer of Socktober, guidance counselor Wendi Dowd will count, categorize and box up all the donated items. Included on this year’s list were three knitted scarves, four knitted headbands and 34 knitted hats, of various sizes. The knitted items were blue, red, purple and pink.  

The knitted items were from Ms. Dowd, who will always knit a few hats for this cause. This year she set a goal for herself to knit 40 hats in October. Every night for the past month, Ms. Dowd has sat down at home in front of the television or in a room with her family and knitted. Most weekday nights, she knitted at least one hat. On the weekends, she was sometimes able to get two or three done.

Ms. Dowd started knitted about 10 years ago.  It started out as a way to relax but it has turned into an avenue to give back. She has knitted a couple hundred hats and donated them to several organizations.

“At the last school I was at, there was a co-worker who knitted with looms and she said it was relaxing so I thought I would give it a try,” said Ms. Dowd.

She bought herself a loom, because she thought it would be easier than needles, and watched some YouTube videos to teach herself.

“With the loom it’s a lot easier to not make mistakes,” Ms. Dowd said.

She started with hats because they are the easiest, she says. She can make little hats for babies, hats for children and larger ones for adults. She’ll buy yarn from Michaels and get whatever color is on sale. She has a lot of pink right now so most of her hats are pink.

When she first started, the hats went to family members.

“Everyone got a hat that Christmas,” Ms. Dowd said.

After all her family members had their heads covered, Ms. Dowd heard that the Special Olympics accepted donated scarves. So, she started making scarves, and she would send them three or four every year.

A year or two later, she heard on the radio, that they were accepting knitted hats at an orphanage in Afghanistan, and she thinks she probably sent 20 or 30 hats.

She will knit with her daughter, who when she was younger would knit hats for her dolls. When they had a pile, they would donate them to homeless shelters.

“Mostly, it’s relaxing unless I set a definite goal and I don’t stay on track,” Ms. Dowd said. “If I’ve set the goal of 10 and I’ve only done six and I have to have them done in two days, then it gets a less relaxing.”

Ms. Dowd reached her goal of 40 hats for October plus a few scarfs and headbands to top it off. Seven of her tiny red hats are going to the American Heart Association, which hands out the hats to newborns.

“You can only have so many hats so you might as well have a purpose and give them away.”