Wednesday, January 31, 2007

World of Good, Artists Helping Children Style

Get my cup of coffee. Stumble over the junk in the game room to get to the computer. Turn on the light that is situated at the far end of the room instead of the doorway so all of that stumbling is done in the dark. Repress shouts of pain to keep from waking the kids as I step on various hard objects on the floor.

Sit down. Do a little searching on the web. Very little. The World of Good (WOG) would leap in at me through the windows if I left them open. Check out a site. Good Lord! It's talking to me!

Do you want to brighten up the days of a sick child?
Well, yes.

Are you a crafty person who likes to knit or sew?
Not really, but some of my readers might be.

We need your creative spirit and your loving help. There are so many children in hospitals, shelters, orphanages, etc who could use a cuddly animal or doll.
Oh we do, do we? Just who is this we that's making all these demands on me?

Click on the bear to get instructions on how to make it.

"We" turns out to be Artists Helping Children and that little bit came from their Knitting for Charity effort. Here's how Artists Helping Children describe themselves.

Artists Helping Children is a site dedicated to bringing comfort to children in hospitals, clinics, and shelters by brightening their environment with murals and other art. There are so many children who live on a daily basis, suffering, and always surrounded by white walls. Our mission is to bring color and fun to these children's lives by painting uplifting murals on institutional walls, making the child’s visit much less stressful to take their focus off of their pain and refocus their energy.
Full disclosure time. I spent a great deal of my childhood in hospitals. They never had a problem figuring out where to stick the IV needle in my arm because they'd done it so many times before. Your wrist swells up after a few days with an IV stuck in it, so sometimes they had to take it out of one wrist and stick it in the other.

Simple instructions: Click on kitty. Make kitty. Give kitty to child in hospital.

Hospitals, as filled with caring people as they are, are sucky places to be as a kid. The pictures on the walls, if there are any, are anonymous. They were there before you came and they will be there after you leave. As I write this, I'm deciphering why I felt the way I did all those years ago. Wow. But I digress.

Traditionalists can make a Raggedy Ann. New Age types can call it Raggedy Gaia. I really don't care. Click. Make. Give.

Almost none of the stuff in the hospital room is yours. It's not your bed, it's not your room, it's not your family walking around outside the curtains. It's not home. What makes the work done by Artists Helping Children so special is that the gift the kid receives is theirs. It's not a toy borrowed from an antiseptic pile and it's something someone made special just for them. You cling to those little bits of warmth. Family visits are the best, but little things made just for you with a handwritten note are a close second.

Groovy, isn't it? Now click, make and give, quick! Your neighbor is surfing over to The Scratching Post right now and they're about to start making one of these. You've got to beat them to the punch otherwise you'll be humiliated forever!

Back to the knitting. "Go ye and knit!" said St. Augustine several centuries ago. Or he would have had he not been busy smiting infidels, keeping literacy alive or whatever it was he was doing instead of knitting. But what about us he-men, macho types? You know, the ones skilled at munching on tortilla chips and salsa while reading blogs. What can we do?

Are you uncomfortable with the idea of sewing or knitting, no matter how easy the pattern? There is one bag below that is made out of foam...there is no sewing involved at all.
Thank God. The last thing I want to do is let the guys know I'm knitting. They'd laugh so hard, they'd spit out their half-decaf soy milk lattes all over their pastel sweaters.

This is a simple, no-knitting required thing you can make for the kids from stuff you buy at Michael's. It's so easy even I could do it. With power tools, of course. Don't make me come over there and click for you.

Check out Artists Helping Children. Their front page says they are no longer acting as a non-profit organization, but everything they suggest is still valid and they've got great resources for people who want to do fun things as a family that make sick kids feel better. They're still a part of the World of Good, no matter how the US Tax Code classifies them.

For more WOGs, why we WOG, the philosophy behind the WOGs and the economic effect of WOGs on the price of polyurethane skateboard wheels in Zanzibar, check out this post.


Heather in Beautiful BC said...

That makes me want to learn to knit! Such a sweet and easy thing to do to help make children feel a little better. Thanks for sharing :)

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