Arlington Women Turning Hobby Into Hope for Kids in Crisis

Inside Arlington's Eunice Activity Center, yarn and needles are a source of magic.

"It's relaxing and creative," said Linda Shipko, who comes to the center's craft room every week. "And it gets our brains going. Well, I don't know about the brain part or not! But we have fun!"

The simple tools have crafted Shipko and more than a dozen other ladies into a tight-knit group.

They've also been responsible for helping countless numbers of children in crisis across the city.

“They need something that can help them feel safe," said Officer Stephanie Gillespie, Community Support Manager for the Arlington Police Department. "They need something that will bring them some comfort.”

It's Gillespie's job to respond to incidents involving children. She says the first thing she does when she arrives on scene is to give the child a crocheted teddy bear.

"It's to help them know that everything is going to be okay and we are going to take good care of them," said Gillespie.

Each one of the bears is handmade by the lady's group, then donated to the police department. They meet each week for three hours to make more."

"There's too many to count," said Shipko.

For the ladies, it hardly feels like work.

"It makes us feel great to know that we're able to do something for these kids," said Shipko.

Police say that's the true essence of why this unique partnership is truly special -- and infectious.

“They’ve convinced a couple of us, myself and my staff, to join them," said Gillespie. "And so under their tutelage, we too are learning how to crochet – now I haven’t made a bear yet.”

She'll get there eventually. But for the time being, she's happy to let these pros continue to work their magic. And they're happy to keep chugging along.

The lady's group relies on yarn donations to make the bears.

If you'd like to help them, you can drop off yarn at the Eunice Activity Center, which is located at 1000 Eunice Street in Arlington.


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