Knitting in Recovery recently received a grant for Reentry through the Arts (RTA) from the California Arts Council (CAC).
Reentry Through the Arts is a new, two-year pilot grant program rooted in the California Arts Council’s belief that the arts are a powerful vehicle for positive change in people, communities and society. The grant supports high quality arts programs for people who have been convicted of a criminal offense and have served time in correctional institutions. The proposed grant project must have the arts as a central component of a holistic and integrated approach to reentry that also identifies other community-based support services including but not limited to job skills training, job placement, mental health and wellness, drug treatment, and/or case management.
Knitting in Recovery, in collaboration with the Ventura County Arts Council (VCAC), is using this grant to provide workforce training to one of our clients who is on probation and has been clean and sober for over a year. She lives with her infant son and is a talented crocheter. Now, she is able to serve others by teaching Knitting in Recovery classes at several of our facilities.
Through the grant, she is able to work at the VCAC Arts Collective in the Pacific View Mall. At the Arts Collective, she is learning customer service, inventory, point of sale, merchandising, event-planning, and other valuable workplace skills.
For over a year, Knitting in Recovery has partnered with the Ventura County Arts Council (VCAC), a non-profit that serves the whole of Ventura County with arts education and advocacy. VCAC runs a space in the Pacific View Mall called the VC Arts Collective. The space acts as part gallery, part retail space, and part art studio and classroom.
Knitting in Recovery is very excited to be featured in this space. Currently, we have a permanent display case full of work made by our clients. We also have some pieces hanging along the display wall including a fantastic granny-square blanket and small pom-pom wall-hanging. Our teachers and clients engage in workforce training and help to staff the space.
In the near future, we hope to establish knitting and crochet classes in the space and have an Arts in Recovery exhibition (including reception) including work from our knitting and crochet classes, visual art classes, and poetry classes taught at recovery centers.
We are excited about the opportunities the Arts Collective provides for our program and our clients. Many thanks to the Ventura County Arts Council for their collaboration.
The VC Arts Collective is located at:
The Pacific View Mall
3301 E Main St, Suite 2167
Ventura, CA 93003
Thanks to a generous grant from the Rotary Club of Ojai, Knitting in Recovery was able to partner with Chaparral High School in Ojai to start a knitting and crochet class. We had a full class of both boys and girls, and everybody participated to the fullest. They learned to crochet, and some of the students, boys as well as girls, took their hooks and yarn with them home to continue working on their project.
For their final project, the class worked as a group to yarn-bomb for their graduation ceremony!
They crocheted beautiful vines and made pom-poms in an array of sizes and in all hues of oranges and greens.
The tree right by the stage was wrapped in a crocheted green and white blanket appliquéd with bright orange knitted squares. All the branches of the tree were dripping with pom-pom flowers and pom-pom fruit. Even in the top of tops there were pom-poms, as some of the boys had really good aim. I think that was their favorite part, and they took great pride in getting them “just right.”
It made for a bright and festive addition and decoration to the wonderful Graduation Ceremony!
What a great honor to be one 2014’s grant recipients from the Ojai Rotary Club.
Proud to stand side by side wonderful organizations like Help of Ojai and the Nan Talbert Foundation. “One Stitch at a Time-Knitting in Recovery” is being recognized and acknowledged for the work we do using Knitting and Crocheting as tools for healing, compassion and inspiration. We are all Women IN Recovery, Knitting FOR Recovery, and this particular project for the Ojai Valley Family Shelter is to supply all the homeless who walk into one of our shelters with a hat and scarf set. Attached is a letter from the woman who knit them with love. Planting seeds goes a long way, and you never know who might find recovery. We are also knitting Blankets the shelters get to keep……and will hopefully have enough blankets to go around for everybody……in a few years:-)