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BreakOUT! Launches Intergenerational Knitting Circle as Pilot Healing Justice Program

on Sat, 02/04/2012 - 18:16

Pictured above:  Wendi O'Neal, co-facilitator

BreakOUT! is excited to launch a pilot Healing Justice Program for the month of February, an intergenerational knitting circle with knitter/ facilitators Elizabeth Sames and Wendi O'Neal.  The knitting circle will focus on sharing stories with one another, building community- and maybe even selling our knitted goods!

Wendi O'Neal has been an integral part of BreakOUT!, often coming to our weekly member meetings and offering her facilitation and conflict management skills during times of need.  She is our "on-call" healer, mentor, teacher, freedom song-singer, and cultural and spiritual advisor.  Born and raised in New Orleans, she has worked in local, regional and national organizations, but her heart's work is rooted in the US South, among youth, and the LGBTQ community.  She helped found one of the first documented out lesbian and bisexual women's alliances at a Historically Black College in Atlanta and has worked with Amnesty International, Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children, Southerners on New Ground, The Highlander Research and Education Center, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, and Junebug Productions' Free Southern Theater Institute.  She is also a beginner knitter and aspiring sweater-maker, learning her skills from the talented Beth Sames.

Beth Sames (photo coming soon!) is a retired middle school teacher from New Orleans, LA and self-proclaimed "uptown pearl clutcher!"  She is an expert knitter and crocheter, making anything from elaborate, beautful fashion accessories like fingerless gloves to more modest, warm hats and scarves to donate to charities in Maine.  After seeing the hardships young people faced in her own backyard, she turned her efforts more locally and reached out to BreakOUT! to volunteer her time, resources, and skills.  Having worked with young people the majority of her life as an educator, she brings incredible compassion, love,  and patience to BreakOUT!  We are so fortunate to have her as an ally to our community.

In March, we will assess the program (and our knitting skills!) and make plans for future months.  Circles will be held on Mondays at 3pm.  Materials provided!