Creating Warmth and Adventure for a Cause with Project Linus
Named after the adorable blanket-toting Peanuts character, Project Linus delivers security through blankets to help comfort children in need.
Project Linus is a volunteer non-profit organization with a two-fold mission: First, to provide love, sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers”. Second, to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children. “To a child, a blanket can be anything—a fort, a cape, a shield—a type of escape that brings comfort and safety,” said chapter coordinator Sharon Garvar.
Santa Clarita as a chapter, or territory, for Project Linus came fruition in 2013 when Sharon introduced the concept to her high school students at Academy of the Canyons (AOC). What started out as a club at the middle college /high school grew to clubs all over the valley including Rio Norte Junior High School, Hart High School, Placerita Junior High School, and Valencia High School. Covering the region for Santa Clarita, The Antelope Valley, and Sylmar, Sharon was ecstatic to turn her dream into a reality by opening up this new chapter. This was shortly after her eight-year-old son Evan was born with pneumonia in the NICU nestled in a soft white blanket provided by the Los Angeles chapter. “I wanted to pay it back,” Sharon said. So far, the chapter has donated over 8,500 crocheted, knitted, and fleece blankets and quilts.
Now, it has transformed into a non-profit ventures class offered at AOC where students can come together to craft handmade blankets for babies, children, and teens. The students help run the class where they integrate marketing techniques and social media know-how to bring awareness to the good they are spreading. “It’s amazing how helpful kids want to be and how eager they are to help,” Sharon said, “They’re always improving stuff and finding the best solutions.”
Once the blankets are carefully made, they then go out to the club’s multiple beneficiaries such as the Santa Clarita Valley Domestic Violence Center, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Michael Hoefflin Foundation Santa Clarita, Bridge to Home Homeless Services, and Department of Children and Family Services to name a few.
Although Sharon and her team of “blanketeers” don’t get to be there when the blankets are distributed, she says the rewarding part is hearing some of the stories or receiving a thank-you letter. Long-term goals for the program include building more clubs in more schools and continuing to make a positive impact on the community. The short-term goal is to have a good turn out for the events they host.
Project Linus of SCV holds two blanket making events, one in the fall and one in the spring. The next event is scheduled to take place February 23, 2019. For more information, visit www.scvprojectlinus.org.
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