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St. Vincent College student's craft club gives back

Mary Pickels
| Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
St. Vincent College Students (from left to right) seniors Chuck Sever, majoring in chemistry, Teresa Bukowski, majoring in biology, and junior Danielle Hathaway, a studio arts major, participate in the new service-oriented club on campus called Crafting for Care, which Bukowski recently started.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
St. Vincent College Students (from left to right) seniors Chuck Sever, majoring in chemistry, Teresa Bukowski, majoring in biology, and junior Danielle Hathaway, a studio arts major, participate in the new service-oriented club on campus called Crafting for Care, which Bukowski recently started.

An interest in learning more about crafts, and in expanding her volunteer efforts led a St. Vincent College student to start a new club combining those goals.

Teresa Bukowski, 21, a senior biology major from Greensburg, established Crafting for Care this fall. The club meets each Monday evening and has attracted students and faculty.

A typical gathering results in about 10 people, most knitting or crocheting, Bukowski said.

“My (older) sister, Mary Bukowski, attended St. Vincent and had a club just like mine. They knit hats and donated them to cancer patients,” she said.

Bukowski has long volunteered with a project at her parish, St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Greensburg, to write Easter and Christmas cards for parishioners who are ill or who are shut-ins.

She has volunteered at Weatherwood Manor, an assisted living facility in Greensburg.

Crafting for Care is making scarves and other items for the homeless.

“We have a little pile of scarves, hats and blankets. We are still searching for specific outlets. We are open to places making requests,” she said.

“I wanted to do something to put a smile on people's faces,” Bukowski said.

Her work with her church has shown her how much such volunteer efforts are appreciated.

“I felt like we needed more of that on campus,” she said.

Natasha Serena, a freshman biology major from Pittsburgh, found a benefit beyond improving her crafting skills.

“What I enjoy most is all of the friendly people I get to meet, as well as knowing that I am doing something to help a good cause,” she said in a release.

Some students bring their own supplies to start projects.

“I donated some supplies. We got a lot from the school's art department. Some faculty members who are part of the knitting group donated needles and yarn,” Bukowski said.

Two monks and one priest attend the weekly craft sessions, she said.

“Brother Mark (Floreanini, assistant professor of visual arts) loved the idea (of the crafting club) and he agreed to stand in as my club adviser,” she said.

Brother Albert Gahr, assistant professor of biology and her academic adviser, also serves as a club adviser.

“Brother Mark showed me how to knit earlier this semester. Brother Albert and I met with him one night before the club was finalized and he showed us how to knit scarves,” Bukowski said.

“They knit so fast, they've made over half the scarves that we have so far. They are very talented,” she said.

“It gives us something to do together that's fun. We always tease each other about how slow or how quick (we are),” she said.

Crafting for Care is open to everyone at St. Vincent, even those who are not able to knit or crochet.

“My aunt (Margaret Hulyk) came to one of the meetings. She knows how to crochet, but came to learn how to arm weave. Now she and I arm weave,” Bukowski said.

Arm weaving involves using one's arms instead of needles.

“I worked on one scarf for a week with needles. It was so slow. With this (arm weaving), I made five scarves in two days. It's fun,” she said.

Future club plans include donating their handmade gifts to children with cancer, hospital patients and soldiers.

Bukowski hopes that the club's members will increase, and possibly expand to the Latrobe community.

“That way, more people can get involved and more opportunities for service projects will become available,” she said.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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