During the Spring 2017 semester, students in Dr. Shlafer’s University of Minnesota (UMN) honor’s class, Incarceration and the Family, partnered with Dr. Diana Poch and inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sandstone, MN to start Project Teddy Bear.
Project Teddy Bear is a restorative justice project at FCI-Sandstone. Throughout the semester, students collected yarn to send to incarcerated men. The men – many of whom were learning to crochet for the first time – used the yarn to crochet stuffed animals which were then donated to children at the Ronald McDonald House.
Each animal and character is individually designed and crocheted by the men, and many of the patterns were selected to meet the various needs of children at the Ronald McDonald House. For example, small birds were crocheted for young children who might be undergoing medical procedures or blood draws so they can easily hold them in their hands.
Dr. Shlafer intends to continue Project Teddy Bear when students return to UMN in the fall. Anyone who would like to donate yarn to serve more children and families at the Ronald McDonald House should contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Online giving to support the purchase of materials is also available.