Grandma Takes on Alternative School Teens With Crochet Needles

Sheri Reed

Flickr photo by Breibeest
No, it's not like that. This 80-year-old woman is actually reaching out to a bunch of tattooed, cursing teenagers with attitudes and personal challenges -- by teaching them to crochet!

Delorse Baney, who's cute as a button by the way, teaches crochet in an evening art class at Patriot Learning Center, an alternative middle and high school in Falcon, Colorado.

Baney, grandmother and great-grandmother of 27, believes teaching kids crochet can help boost their self-esteem because it teaches them a valuable life lesson -- that with hard work and the accomplishment of a goal come pride. She says, "A lot of children today lack self-esteem that comes from doing a job, no matter how meager, and seeing the results of it as accomplishment."

Baney truly feels that simple lessons like this can translate into life successes. "When they take yarn and see something completed, I think they'll be more inclined to see other things through."

About her students -- some at risk of dropping out of school, others making up credits to graduate -- Baney says, "They're all just precious little souls. I want to just help them see the right side of life and have a desire for it."

Jay Hahn, principal at Patriot, thought offering crochet could be a "catastrophe." But then he visited the class and said, "Here were all these kids on task, crocheting away. They took right to it. I think it's because this is instant gratification; they see an immediate product. And the guys didn't think it was only a girl thing."

Kim Brown, Social Studies and Art teacher at Patriot, says, "To be around a senior citizen is huge for these kids. She slows them down. They really like her and you should see them try to watch their language around her."

They even walk Baney to her car after class.

And the teens are learning to crochet whether they simply find it enjoyable or it's just better than working out of a textbook. One 17-year-old girl is well on her way to a scarf for her mom's Mother's Day present. Another boy has a 10-foot crochet chain. "It's going to be a blanket or maybe a sleeping bag," he says.

Baney knows some will be less enthusiastic about crochet, but she still thinks teaching them this craft might help spark interest in other positive things."Maybe because they could do this, they might go for woodworking, making a birdhouse or such. There are so many things to take pride in."

How sweet is this story? Do you have a similar story to tell?

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