So tonight I went to teach knit and crochet skills to a group of women at a local Sacramento women’s shelter. Yes– St’ John’s–the one from the Oprah show highlighting Sacramento area homelessness. The shelter that turns away hundreds of women and children in Sacramento because it is full to capacity every night. I was feeling fine until I got the “volunteer orientation.” Then suddenly I felt apprehensive. Even reluctant. But I go. Because I said I would.
I could tell even in the dark as I drove down the street exactly which building it was. Stark, gray, institutional, not at all, like a place to call home. When I got to the door I was buzzed in, because everything is locked up tight. I go inside, and there are women and teen girls hassling the ladies at the desk. Wanting to get their needs met. Wanting to talk to somebody. I was instantly a little overwhelmed. I walk down the hallway by myself, unsure if I was headed in the right direction, hearing kids chattering and women arguing. Oh boy, what had I gotten into?
But I get to the room where the lessons are happening and everything’s a little different. More familiar. I go to knit and crochet groups at restaurants, coffee shops, libraries. This is just like that. We could be any women in the world anywhere. Sharing the tradition of craft. Learning, teaching, concentrating. And then I see the really young women. Some there with their mothers, some there with tiny babies. They could be any young women anywhere. Full of promise and potential. Sitting together, relaxing, chatting. It was touching. I’m looking forward to next time.
BTW: They really need crochet hooks. Lots and lots of crochet hooks. I’ll be taking my duplicates. They’ll be put to good use.