Craft volunteer is a godsend’
A Devonshire woman with a passion for crafting has been sharing her love of all things handmade with seniors for the last three years.
Kathy Faries volunteers with the Crafty Bunch Angels — a group of ten to 15 seniors — who come together at the Bermuda Senior Islanders’ Centre in Pembroke every Tuesday afternoon to craft.
“I love doing crafts, but I find it is much more fun doing crafts with other people,” she said. “You don’t get monetary value; you get a sense of gratification that you’ve helped make someone happy. The world would be a lot worse off if it weren’t for the people who help out where needed without expecting any monetary compensation,” she added.
“By volunteering, I can hope that I have made someone’s day a better one.”
“It can be rewarding — and it’s an important thing, isn’t it?
“It’s people helping people freely, giving your time,” the mother-of-two added.
Ms Faries, 62. supervises projects, including the making of jewellery, fleece pillows, Easter bunnies and Valentine’s baskets, with her friend Lynne Spurling, of Smith’s.
They get together on Mondays to prepare the projects and complete them once in advance.
“That way we know what we need, how long it’s going to take and if it’s doable,” Ms Faries explained.
“The ladies are very talented themselves — they are excellent knitters or crocheters — and they do wonderful work.
“They are very basic projects really, in the scheme of things, but fun.” Ms Faries added. “Hopefully they take away a sense of accomplishment.”
The retired travel agent, who can often be found scouring garage sales looking for crafting supplies, provides all of the materials for the class herself.
“When I go away, if I see a good deal I always look out for something inexpensive to do,” she said, “and I have supplies at home that I can put to use.”
Ms Faries started volunteering at the Centre, which celebrates it’s 40th anniversary this year, after she saw an advert seeking a crafting specialist.
She said that she has always loved working with older people and leaped at the chance to help out.
“We both enjoy the ladies a great deal,” she added. “The comments and opinions of their generation can be most enlightening and entertaining — they know what they like and what they don’t!
“I love that they are always willing to have a go at whatever I come up with.
“Most have done some part of the projects before in their lifetime and they can actually enlighten us on better ways to do things.”
Ms Faries, who has been a member of the Bermuda Guild of Stitchery for 19 years and served as president for two, said that needlepoint — a hobby she started after she married her husband Edwin Faries — inspired the crafting.
Ms Faries explained that Ms Spurling, who is also part of the Guild and helps out at the Barn during the week, was looking for volunteer opportunities and offered to help out.
“She has helped me out from very early on and I have to say that without her help I would have a hard time coping — it isn’t easy when they all need your help at once,” Ms Faries said.
Ms Faries, who used to work at Kitson Travel Service and Global Travel, also assists the five to seven-year-olds at the Bermuda Girl Guide Association once a week.
Despite her dedication, Ms Faries insists she is no hero — her reward is the happiness she feels when she sees that the seniors feel that they have accomplished something.
But Fredrick Hassell of the Bermuda Senior Islanders’ Centre said that Ms Faries’ help “is a godsend — we couldn’t put a financial figure on it.
“She’s always thinking of something new they can do.
“When they go home they’ve done something creative, they’ve had community fellowship.”
“It’s tremendously inspiring for her to do this and it’s a lifesaver for us.”
“We really appreciate our Kathy,” Mr Hassell added.
• Do you know an Unsung Hero who deserves recognition? Call Lisa on 278-0137 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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