Hooked on good deeds: Detention home teens crochet for charity

Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Children at the Erie County Juvenile Detention Home are giving back to the community - one skein of yarn at a time.

Three weeks ago the first of what is expected to be many handmade, crocheted blankets was given to the Safe Harbour Domestic Violence Shelter.

“We try to give them a sense of accomplishment ... something to do to get their minds off their present situation,” said Ben Yourkvitch, detention director.

Over the past few months workers at the home have slowly taught each child how to crochet. Now the children are teaching each other.

While some residents are in the home for serious charges, they said they hope the blankets will show they have good to share.

“It gets my mind occupied,” said a 16-year-old boy who has been in the home for several months. He crocheted an entire blanket in about one month.

“Doing that blanket by himself was incredible,” Yourkvitch said.

Now he’s started a second blanket. This one is for his mother.

“It just makes me feel good because it’s going to people that really need it,” the boy said.

Another 16-year-old boy has been crocheting and doing loom work to make blankets and scarves.

“I’ve taught probably like 20 people how to do it,” he said.

So far children have made three full blankets and are working on a fourth. Each time a blanket is completed the children are able to have a pizza party.

A 16-year-old girl is back in the home after recently being released. When she last left the home, she said, she went directly Wal-Mart to buy crochet supplies to have at home.

“It passes time,” she said as she worked on a baby blanket for her 3-year-old sister.

Another blanket she is working on will go to charity.

“If I wouldn’t have come here, I never would have learned how to crochet,” she said.

This is not the first time the children have done volunteer projects. In the past they have made pillow cases and given them to foster care children.

“When they leave they have some tools and a better sense of self-worth,” Yourkvitch said.

Other times they have decorated flowerpots and made cards, Yourkvitch said.

“It gives them an opportunity to give back to the community they may not have had before,” he said.

In March the Sandusky/ Erie County Community Foundation awarded the home $900 for craft supplies. More supplies could be used. Anyone who wishes to donate can call 419-627-7611.