By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Since last fall, three 4S Ranch teenagers have been leading Crafts for a Cause, a free weekly activity at 4S Ranch Library for elementary students.
The trio — Rosa Chung, Kate Jeon and Rachelle Juan — are 4S Ranch 15-year-olds who just completed their freshman year at Del Norte High.
The activity was the idea of Kate and Rosa, who at the beginning of their freshman year founded and became co-presidents of Crafts for a Cause, an art-oriented service club at Del Norte with about 30 members. Throughout the school year they met weekly during lunch and after school to make crafts that help the community.
Some items they made — such as Christmas ornaments — were given to seniors at Sunshine Care in Poway during the holidays, they said. Other crafts were sold on campus, with proceeds going to
and Del Norte’s ASB.
Another club activity is helping youngsters explore their creative sides by leading a free craft lesson at 4S Ranch Library from 4-5 p.m. each Thursday.
“We’re providing a program for kids who do not have art in school because of budget cuts,” Kate said.
“We’re all really interested in art, which we do ourselves,” Rosa said. “We’re sharing (our crafts) ... and encouraging creativity.”
Kate and Rosa were soon joined by Rachelle (the club’s vice president) in organizing the craft activity funded by the library. Due to space limitations, other club members join the trio on a rotational basis — with a total of five to seven teens helping youngsters at any one time.
They said at least 30 children can be accommodated each week, though they try to have supplies available for more — especially if the craft is simple and does not take the entire hour to complete. On these occasions, a second group of children can participate since often there is a waiting list. Children sign up for each session at the library’s circulation desk.
The activity has proven so popular that the girls decided to continue it this summer. At today’s (Thursday) session, children will make patriotic paper lanterns. They said crafts typically involve tissue and construction paper, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, ribbon and yarn, and often are associated with holidays.
Since they research craft ideas online, test them out, gather supplies and make samples before teaching the children, the teens said prep work takes about four hours per hourly session.
Each said she has a different motivation for the volunteer work.
“I’m interested in arts and crafts, always did it as a hobby ... and want to share my passion with other people who do not do crafts, (but might) develop an interest,” Rachelle said. “I also love working with kids.”
“I wanted to share my creative side with everyone and show them that crafts can be turned into anything,” Kate said, adding she also likes “helping the community.”
“It makes me so happy. ... I’m so creative already and now part of a great group,” Rosa said. “It’s also a little something I can do. I’ve been blessed by people helping me. This lets me give back.”
4S Ranch Library is at 10433 Reserve Drive. For questions about craft sessions and other free children’s programs, call 858-673-4697.