Photo by Kelly White
Carrington Stewart, 17 of Oak Lawn, crochets newborn hats to be delivered to Advocate Children's Hospital in conjunction with the Little Red Hat campaign on Feb. 12 at Richards High School in Oak Lawn.
Carrington Stewart has a heart made for helping others.
As a member of the Richards High School National Honors Society, Stewart likes to spend her free time volunteering. She aspires to one day become a rheumatologist.
“I like helping others in any way I can,” said Stewart, 17, of Oak Lawn. “Being a rheumatologist will allow me the opportunity to help other people who are in pain. I will be able to work with those daily who are in need of my care.”
Stewart most recently spent her time volunteering after school, with other Richards NHS members, crocheting little red hats for newborn babies at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital at Christ Medical Center, 4440 W. 95th St., Oak Lawn.
The Little Red Hat campaign takes place nationwide. It ties in conjunction the American Heart Association and The Children's Heart Foundationto celebrate American Heart Month by crocheting red hats for babies born in February at participating hospitals. Supporters, like Stewart, are crocheting red hats to be given out to thousands of newborns during American Heart Month in order to empower moms to live heart healthy lives.
The little red hat is a simple reminder for parents to talk about the future health of their newborns and make sure that they and their loved ones are screened for cardiovascular diseases.
“I chose to volunteer because I really like the underlying cause,” said Sam Popp, 17, of Oak Lawn.
Under the supervision of Dorothy Groff, the NHS moderator at Richards, the students met after school at Richards, 10601 S. Central Ave., Oak Lawn, to crochet as many hats as they could.
The students, who were responsible for bringing in their own yarn and crocheting hooks, also met in the month of January, and were also allotted time out of class to crochet.
“What makes this project unique is that the students are crocheting the hats completely by themselves,” Groff said. “This is a project that anyone can do. We have both female and male students helping out.”
This is the first year Richards participated in the Little Red Hats campaign with only NHS students, made up of junior and seniors, including Marissa Collins.
“When I first heard about this project, I thought it would not only be fun to learn how to crochet, but it’s also a way to help other people, so it’s a win-win for me,” said Collins, 17, of Chicago Ridge.
The majority of the students did not know how to crochet prior to participating in the project, according to Groff, who took time to demonstrate how to crochet and even worked with students on a one-on-one basis.
“In the beginning, it was a little rough getting them started, but once they got the hang of it, they’ve really been amazing,” Groff said. “Students are coming to me in between classes to ask for help or for reminders on how to crochet, but they are really getting into it.”
“I learned how to crochet here in class,” Collins said. “It’s a little harder than I expected it to be, but now that I have the hang of it, it’s a lot easier.”
Groff’s students made over 100 hats to be sent to Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital during the beginning of March to be used for babies born during the month of February in 2019. The hospital is already collecting hats for next year. All of the hats created will be washed by hospital staff prior to distribution.
Groff does plan on holding the project again next year.
“I’ve received such positive feedback from students,” she said. “Next year, I would like to get started in December to have the hats delivered by February.”