Tie Blanket event gives back to community
By: Sydney Umstead, News Editor
On Nov. 9, The Center for Student Engagement and Leadership Development held their tie blanket making event for the first time ever. Student Engagement and members of the student body spent their afternoon crafting blankets for families currently living in the Family Promise of WNY homeless shelter.
Nikki Middleton, leadership development coordinator, stated that the event is important because it provides the opportunity to teach students that “donating your time to a cause [and] giving back to your community is truly what makes us human.”
Family’s Promise of WNY was chosen for this event because, as Middleton stated, “It is one of two homeless shelters where they keep the families together.” The process when entering a homeless shelter usually involves parents and their children being placed separately.
Middle stated that the organization’s “whole promise is that your family will stay together.” Furthermore, she said, “This is helpful when it’s a single [parent]” entering the shelter with a child.
All of the blankets made will go to children in the shelters. Middleton touched on this with the statement, “The trunk of my car is currently overflowing with blankets.” Each provided blanket will feature unique and colorful patterns.
Part of the draw to this event for Middleton stemmed from her own personal experiences. She recalled how when she was younger, she was in the hospital and received a blanket that someone had made for her.
As the leadership development coordinator, Middleton is tasked with planning an event per semester. In terms of why she chose to host the event, she stated, “I thought that the event should tie more closely to leadership on campus and what that looks like.” The event provides a way for service leadership where, she said, “You do something nice for the community as a way to learn a little bit about yourself.”
As Middleton will be leaving her position at Canisius after she graduates with her masters in May, she will still be working within the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership Development. In light of this, she is hopeful that the tie-blanket event could be something that is done annually. She said, “I think this season from Thanksgiving to December is a time where people feel a little more generous.”
In preparation for the event, Middleton said she has been drafting the idea since September. She noted that she needed to “gain student interest,” noting that, “it’s easier for students to tell other students.” This led to the creation of a flier, which students started posting on various social media platforms.
With the amount of student engagement seen prior to the day of the event, Middleton stated that she was hopeful that at least 50 blankets could be made and sent to the shelter.
The process of making the blankets is beginner-friendly as Middleton had prepared for the event by starting to precut some of the blankets. She stated, “You have to cut four squares and go down the row of the blanket, cutting one-inch marks.” Following this procedure, the two blankets are then tied together.
Middleton stated, “There is no sewing required: anyone can do it, which is why I picked those types of blankets.”