JSES Guidance & Counseling

67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela

hands crochetting

Unit of Study – Career and Life Skills

Type of Service – Providing crochet squares for Nelson Mandela 67 Blankets Initiative

Meet a recognized community need —

Maryland Juvenile Services Education System has partnered with 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, a worldwide initiative to knit/crochet blankets for the less fortunate. JSES students will participate by making squares to join into blankets. The blankets made will be given to local charities in the Greater DC Region after laying them around the Nelson Mandela statue in Washington DC in July 2016. The goal is for each JSES school to make at least twenty (20) squares to donate to the blanket.

Achieve curricular objectives through service-learning- Crocheting/ Knitting is considered a life skill in that it is one which the students will be able to continue to use both to produce useful goods for a good cause as well as for stress relief and recreation.

knitted blankets

Reflect throughout the service-learning experience —

Students will be asked to reflect throughout this project. Their reflections will hopefully take them from personal experiences in their local communities to a place of reflection about their responsibilities to the world and for others. The reflection at the beginning of the project is aimed at getting them to understand the major contributions made by Nelson Mandela. Throughout the project, students will be challenged to think about the problems of those less fortunate than themselves. They will garner more information about the plight of the homeless and the need for these blankets. Those reflections may lead to a decision to advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves.

Develop student responsibility (Students have opportunities to make decisions about the service-learning project) —

This is a JSES systemic service learning activity.  After the initial decisions about the nature and scope of the project, students will be responsible for honoring their commitment to the 67 blankest initiative. Through reflection, students will also be encouraged to think about their responsibilities to others in the world outside their communities. Hopefully, some will take these responsibilities seriously and turn that to action through advocacy for those who can’t advocate for themselves.

Establish Community Partnerships —

This Mandela 67 Blankets initiative celebrates the ethos and the legacy of a man who united South Africans in a time of uncertainty and today was a true testament to that, seeing thousands of handcrafted blankets handmade with love and compassion. The blankets will be distributed to the needy throughout the greater DC region in honor of Nelson Mandela and the 67 years he contributed to public service and human rights.

knitted blankets

Plan ahead for service-learning with students —

Students will need to be taught how to crochet the 10X10 squares (see Getting started information sheet).  Students will be shown the youtube tutorial and provided the materials needed. Teachers will need to access the tutorial video and use the Promethean board to show the video tutorial to students. As added support, it would be helpful for any staff that knows how to crochet teach the students as well. Teachers and the school counselor will need to monitor the project throughout. The Principal, as well as teachers, will also have to address the safety issues of having plastic crochet needles in the facility. Teachers/school counselor will have to be present during the crochet periods. Initial materials will be provided by JSES, however, additional funding may need to be secured for additional materials. There will have to be specified days/times to work on this activity.

Equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for service —

Personal stories, videos and information provided by the teacher/counselor about Nelson Mandela and the 67 Blankets initiative should establish the need for the crochet squares. In addition to the use of the video tutorial, it is recommended that someone with the ability to teach students to crochet should be available to the students.