Summit is always looking for creative ways to support the needs of our community. Three years ago we partnered with HeartFelt Fiber Arts, a program that teaches  knitting as a tool for health and wellness.

Owner Betsy Rodman believes that anyone can knit, and that it’s a great bridge-builder between people that may not ordinarily spend time together, in addition to other benefits.

“Knitting is excellent for fine motor development and strengthening,” said Ms. Rodman. “It also helps students develop focus, patience, and persistence by seeing a task through from start to finish.  Knitting is also calming – many of our Summit knitting students have spoken about how knitting has become part of their “tool kit” for when they are experiencing anxiety.”

It helps students learn to become more comfortable with the learning process and risk-taking in a very safe environment, stretching themselves to try something new. Not only that, it’s hands on, and they can see and touch (and wear!) concrete results of their efforts.

“Knitting helps me because when I am anxious or depressed it distracts me and calms me down,” said student Caitlin. “I started knitting a couple months ago and since then it has been a coping a skill I use the most.  Knitting helps me focus on conversations that are happening, gets me less distracted, and helps relieve some anxiety. Although I thought knitting would be the last thing I would do, it has helped me tremendously on focusing on my academics as well as helping with my mental and emotional needs.”

With guidance from Ms. Rodman, Summit student recently initiated a collaborative service project. They are knitting a blanket which will be donated to the Center for Safety and Change – a Rockland County not-for-profit which serves Domestic Violence and sexual assault victims.