I always felt that I was safe. I had a job, a wife, 4 children and a warm, welcoming home. What could possibly go wrong? It all started with losing my job. I never thought it would happen to me but it did. Fortunately and with a couple of years of struggling financially, I was able to find a new career path which lead me to teaching. Little did I know that it was the beginning of a journey to help those experiencing homelessness. As the saying goes “when one door closes, another door opens”.
Being 43 years old, it was a challenge to be standing in front of my Grade 6 class let alone being dared by the Principal to come up with something different for student outreach involvement. It just so happened an article regarding a national program to knit blankets for those experiencing homelessness was in the local paper. After putting some thought to it and talking it over with my students, the “Patches from Heaven” program started. Parents & volunteers taught the students to knit a “patch” which was sewn into a blanket. The class knit a total of 5 blankets which were donated to a homeless shelter in a neighbouring community.
Thinking the knitting program was finished, the interest remained into my second year with the new group of students. Then it happened! One of the parent volunteers approached me with a pair of knitting needles, a ball of wool and told me I was going to learn how to knit along with the students. With a few months of struggling and many holey patches later, I finally learned how to knit! It didn’t take long for 18 years to pass and the “Patches from Heaven” program flourished year after year with more and more blankets being knit. By the time I retired, a total of 1200 blankets were knit and donated to warm those experiencing homelessness with the help of over 500 students and many adult volunteers. To this day, I am still an avid daily knitter!
I was inspired to put down my knitting needles, pick up a pen and write a children’s picture book. Simon’s Holey Patch is a heartwarming story about a little boy who learns to knit with the help of his grandma. Simon’s holey patch leads him to something greater than he ever imagined. As an educator, I always tried to instill in my students that children can make a difference in someone’s life. After retiring, the knitting program continues with a group of senior volunteers who have knit 250 blankets for those experiencing homelessness. Simon’s Holey Patch has become instrumental to fundraise and donate. During the month of March, 100% of the profits from book sales to organizations such as Raising the Roof to help fight and end homelessness.