Connect with Respect - Project Linus Canada in MB (Stonewall)

Project Linus Canada in Manitoba
Stonewall Library, Stonewall, Manitoba
Every Wednesday afternoon from 2007-ongoing
16-20 older adult participants (aged 55 years or older)
75+ people involved in total

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Describe the purpose of the program/activity/event:

Project Linus has a 2-fold mission: (1) to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need of a hug through the gift of a handmade blanket; (2) to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities as volunteer "blanketeers" who make the blankets to gift to the children.

Briefly describe what you think made your program/activity/event special? Why do you think it was successful?

Most of the seniors involved have knit and crocheted most of their lives and found that this outlet to continue a hobby they loved was a perfect fit and allowed them to provide blankets for children needing the security and hug from a stranger who, with needles, crochet hooks, yarn and fabric, can provide that to a hurting child.

How inviting or appealing was this activity for the older adults involved?

Many thanks are received so often and they show their appreciation by continuing to provide blankets weekly or as quickly as they can get them made. One senior has made 300+ in the 10 years since we started in Stonewall.

How easy was it (for the older adults) to participate?

Very easy. Everyone works at home at their own pace but meeting every Wednesday is an outing for them to knit and crochet and socialize.

How likely will the older adults who were involved participate again in the future?

Blanketeers who live outside Stonewall pop in for a visit and a "show and tell" of the blankets they have made since their last visit. They all participate until poor health interferes and then they still make blankets for pick-up.

What advice would you give other groups who may be considering the planning and facilitation of a similar opportunity for older adults?

Stay positive and not so structured that there is no room for change. My blanketeers are an awesome group of ladies and will do anything to aid in this wonderful, successful organization.

What key learning (pearls of wisdom) would you like to share about your experience in "connecting with respect" and creating opportunities for social engagement of older adults in Manitoba?

It is very humbling when a 92 year old blanketeer thanks me at least once a month for the past 7 years for starting Project Linus in Manitoba and giving her an outlet to meet with other blanketeers, knit blankets and enjoy the group of ladies who are all positive and upbeat and (in her words) "there is no backstabbing and crabbiness."



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