Handmade gifts elicit comfort in times of hardship. The Women of Saint Leo Lacrosse know this well. On Monday, October 9, the ladies gathered in Kirk Hall on University Campus and spent two hours cutting and knotting fabric to create blankets for women in need at the Sunrise of Pasco County, Inc. Domestic and Sexual Violence Center’s emergency shelter.
The blankets varied in size and pattern so that they may be used by the women themselves or by their babies or older children that they may have brought to the shelter. The finished blankets will be dropped off by Aubrey Hall, Saint Leo’s Green Dot Coordinator.
Green Dot is a program that works through Sunrise of Pasco to implement awareness of power-based violence such as stalking, harassment, or domestic abuse to Saint Leo’s campus. Hall explained that her goal is to “engage the Saint Leo community at large and bring light to a reality of which people on campus may not be aware.” The idea is that the widespread knowledge of what power-based violence is will reduce the chances of that violence occurring.
According to Hall, the survivors currently at the shelter will be able to choose their own blankets, and the leftover blankets will be placed in welcome baskets for new arrivals to the shelter. Having recently escaped tremendously difficult situations, women often arrive at the shelter with little or no personal belongings, so the welcome baskets would typically include things like shampoo or sweatpants.
Saint Leo students giving back to Sunrise of Pasco furthers the relationship between the two entities, and the women of the team enjoy the experience. Women’s Lacrosse Coach Caitlin Hansen is new to Saint Leo, but she said that the team had participated in creating blankets for Sunrise of Pasco last year and heavily requested continuing the tradition. Hansen felt that the project was good for the team because it “adds color to the day.” In the busy day of a student-athlete, it is calming to craft something beautiful and know that it will help someone.
The School of Education and Social Services encourages students to take part in Green Dot. Dr. Joanne Crossman, Women’s Lacrosse Faculty Mentor and Instructor of Education, expressed that it is positive for the team to reach out and let the women at the shelter know that people care for them. It is a display of “women supporting other women,” according to Crossman.
Next week, October 16-20 is the start of Green Dot week on University Campus. Several on-campus events will provide more opportunity to engage with Sunrise of Pasco, beginning with the Green Dot Melting Pot in the Student Community Center boardrooms 6:30 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 16. There will be stories of survivors and information and tips about handling situations of power-based violence shared at these events.