Saturday, 12 January 2019

Craft Day

I'll be the first to admit that my artistic talents start and end with stick people. I've never been particularly artistic in any way when it comes to taking images from my mind and putting them on paper or canvas, and I cannot tell you how much respect I have for those that can make that transfer. Today, though, I and approximately 20 other people joined The Athletic's Murat Ates at the Good Will Social Club to design Valentine's Day cards for some very deserving people! And just for reference, the cards above and to the left were made by my good friend, Alyssa, whose artistic abilities are leaps and bound beyond my own.

Stitching Hearts, an organization founded by Winnipegger Meg Crane, started delivering the cards to women at Siloam Mission a few years ago, and it has since began to branch out to other cities and areas to do the same in those communities. All of the cards collected are delivered to shelters for women and children who have requested the cards through Stitching Hearts, and the enthusiasm for making cards at the event today that Ates organized was felt through the entire three-hour period.

As per this CBC article, "Crane and her movement sent out 337 cards in Winnipeg. In the second year, the project sent a total of 1,400 cards across the country. The following years, about 2,000 cards annually have been mailed to shelters in North America." The hope is that the work done in Winnipeg this year not only surpasses the 337 cards from the first year, but crushes every other number that has come before it.

When it comes to using his reach through the hockey world to attract volunteers, Ates recognizes the significance in having a disproportionate number of men volunteer to make cards as men are usually responsible for women and children needing space in shelters.

"Men are disproportionately the perpetrators, so organizing a men's event is a small act of restoration," said Ates told CBC's Ahmar Khan. "I think that's meaningful."

Ates added that the people who indicated they were coming to the event weren't coming alone. "It's meaningful that parents want to come and have conversations with their sons. It's that kind of generational change that reduces and helps end domestic violence," Ates said. "Any important social change is a generational one. It starts at home. It starts with families."

Indeed, there was a gentleman with a son at the event. There were couples at the event. There were tables of men who arrived together to make cards. There were tables that were pushed together as individuals became teams who made cards together. Supplies were shared among neighbouring tables, and creativity flowed freely as laughs were heard often and smiles were seen all afternoon. At the end of the three-hour event, everyone who was there had piles of cards on their tables, and collectively there had to be hundreds of cards made. To call the effort anything but extraordinary would be selling the work done by everyone in attendance way too short.

I had an outstanding time at the event today as I met some new people, made a bunch of cards, and had a pile of laughs. Full credit to Murat Ates for this event, and I plan on making it an annual craft day for me going forward. I really believe in why Stitching Hearts is doing this, so expect to hear more about this event on a future episode of The Hockey Show as well as future promotion of events like this.

Thanks for making me aware of this, Murat, and keep up the amazing work!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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