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University holds knitting sessions for underprivileged youth

By Ashley Fountain, Staff Writer

As Hofstra University celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) History Month, The Pride Network and Student Leadership and Activities have come together to coordinate an event, Threading Love for Youth,which contributes to Hofstra University's 75 Acts of Kindness.  The purpose of the event is to allow students to come together and knit winter gear such as: handmade scarves, beanies, gloves, and mittens. The event began Oct. 1 and continues until Nov. 22.

William Moriarty, a junior and the co-chair of the Pride Network feels there is a huge discrepancy of how many homeless youth are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. "Many young people get kicked out of their homes and take the street as soon as they come out to their parents, said Moriarty. "Several youth come from different parts of the country who believe they can make something of themselves there and not need anyone to support them."

Moriarty encourages people to attend knitting sessions scheduled during GSA meetings.  "Some of our members knit fairly well and regularly, so I encourage anyone who wants to learn to come to our meetings and get involved," said Moriarty.

All finished products will be sent out to Love Threads, a national nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. that aspires to raise public awareness of homelessness among LGBTQ youth. Moriarty and other club members are hopeful to see a large number of students lend a hand. "It is not required to attend our GSA meetings to get involved even though we always like to see new members," said Moriarty.

Any student who has knitting experience and would like to make a donation is encouraged to do so. Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) meetings are scheduled every Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Brower Hall. Any student interested in supporting this cause can check out The Pride Network: Hofstra University Chapter on Facebook to see updates on any planned knitting sessions.

Members of the Pride Network will be at The Day of Dialog on Oct. 27 to promote the Threading for Youth event. Students who want to get involved can attend and start knitting. There will be a table set up in front of the bookstore for students to go talk to group leaders and actually sign out supplies on Nov. 4. Students can sign the pledge to take out crochet needles and yarn for completing winter accessories in room 260 of the Mack Student Center. All finished products must be returned in the same location by Nov. 22 at the latest.

Kimberly Rhyan, assistant director of Student Leadership and Activities, feels that acts of kindness can come in different forms. Not all forms require hands-on service. "We take putting a scarf on for granted but to some individuals to be given a scarf is a gift, a gift of warmth for the whole winter," said Rhyan. "When most people are home snuggling over the holidays the homeless are going to be freezing. They need our help."

Rhyan reflected on a homeless simulation she participated in during college. Upon being dropped off in the bitter cold of January at 5 a.m., Rhyan and her classmates pretended they were homeless. They were forced to determine where to find food and clothing. "We had people come up to us who were homeless and I can still remember their stories they told us. It was a life changing experience for me, "said Rhyan. "I love my job because I know I can always continue to open people's eyes to those in need and encourage them to lend a hand and make a difference."

(Ashley Fountain/The Chronicle)

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