Granny Dorothy guides Tianna McClelland (left) and Robyne Shewchuk in a knitting lesson to make comfort dolls. “The comfort dolls are great because the kids in Third World countries will love and appreciate them

Granny Dorothy guides Tianna McClelland (left) and Robyne Shewchuk in a knitting lesson to make comfort dolls. “The comfort dolls are great because the kids in Third World countries will love and appreciate them

Knitting Grannies and Vernon secondary school students knit comfort dolls

The Knitting Grannies are welcomed to Vernon secondary school to teach teens how to knit.

A traditional craft has helped to bridge the generation gap between teens and seniors while at the same time bringing comfort to children around the world.

Grade 11 and 12 family studies students at Vernon secondary school recently welcomed the Knitting Grannies to teach them how to knit. Since then, students, staff, friends and family have knit more than 200 comfort dolls, which will be sent to children in need around the world.

VSS teacher Maija Daughtry said her students were thrilled to welcome the grannies to class.

“When the grannies arrived the first day, the kids started cheering and clapping,” said Daughtry, a home economics teacher who teaches family studies as part of the home ec program. “I loved watching the grannies and students interact. The class was a buzz of conversation and laughing, and all of the students had huge grins on their faces for the whole class.”

The Knitting Grannies are 10 volunteers from the outreach program at Trinity United Church.

“It was fun to knit with the grannies and learn something new,” said Jordanna Dodman. “The grannies were funny and I loved Granny Barbara. The project was fun to work on because it goes to a good cause.”

With their help, the project at VSS has grown, and Daughtry said the original plan was to send 100 of the dolls to Nepal, 100 to Africa and 100 to B.C. Children’s Hospital.

But Daughtry has learned of other needs, and has expanded the program to knit even more of the colourful, cuddly dolls.

“I was at my daughter’s student-led conference at Okanagan Landing school and her teacher told me about her summer trip to Uganda, so now we are sending 50 more dolls with her,” she said. “We are also giving them to adults in the schools who are having a hard time.”

Daughtry said the community has been generous with support for both this project and the Dresses for Africa project, with 20 boxes of fabric, pillow cases, thread and trims donated so far.

For the comfort dolls project, donations of yarn and stuffing would be most welcome, and can be brought to room 309 at VSS or dropped off at the office for Daughtry.

“We are going to keep knitting until June,” she said. “The whole community is becoming involved and it’s exciting and heart-warming for me. We receive donations of yarns regularly and we have a whole bunch of friends and family knitting up a storm for charity —I love it!”