At The Salvation Army’s Shaganappi Community Church in Calgary, a new crocheting program is providing a creative outlet, valuable life skills and church connections to children and youth. Officially launched in January, the program runs every Tuesday evening for two hours.

The crocheting program was inspired by a dedicated volunteer, Kiara, who had volunteered previously at the homework help program and free clothing exchange event at the corps, and voiced her passion for crocheting and teaching.

“I felt that God was telling me to start this new crocheting program through our church, with Kiara leading it, as some of the kids here already know her,” explains Kassandra Cristall, children and youth ministry worker at Shaganappi Community Church.

Available for youth ages 11-17, it is an eight-week program that focuses on different crocheting projects. The program is structured to cover various stages, including learning basic stitches, creating granny squares, and then making items such as octopuses, potted plants and star pouches. When participants graduate from the program, they receive a certificate of completion, a small crocheting kit and a $5 gift card for Tim Hortons. 

“We want to make sure we are always honouring God in the programs and events that we do through our church,” says Cristall, who explains that each class includes a snack and starts or ends with a prayer.

“It’s important to engage young people in these ways as it helps connect them with other kids they haven’t met yet,” Cristall continues. “It helps them develop stronger social skills as they build new relationships within the community and the church, and it introduces them to Jesus.”

According to Cristall, approximately 60 children who are connected to the corps and communityand family services regularly attend youth programming at the church, including family movie nights, a Cooking and Baking With Christ program, Girls’ Pampering Night, and back-to-school haircut events.

“These programs have been a really good way to gather and engage the mix of families who are part of our church, community services and, most recently, our toy hamper distribution,” says Cristall. “We don’t always know how or in what ways Jesus will use us to help bring people closer to him.” 

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