Finding a way to pass the time during their summer vacation, has turned into big smiles for the staff and volunteers at Steinbach Community Outreach (SCO).
Ainsley Funk and Paige Barkman, 12-year-old young ladies from Steinbach, first heard about the work that SCO was doing in the area back in 2022, while on a field trip to the facility on Loewen Blvd in Steinbach.
They were so moved that they decided they wanted to do something to raise money for the non-profit organization.
The previous summer (2021) the 2 had started weaving embroidery thread bracelets while spending time at the lake. The girls were already familiar with several different kinds of weaves which they had learned from their family members.
Funk explains how to weave the “fishtail” that her mom taught her. ”Yeah, so you loop strings, and you put them on your fingers and then you rotate, and you weave your fingers through the thread, and it turns out like these.” (See photo)
Barkman says they have had some requests for specific kinds of bracelets, but mostly they just make what they feel like making. “So, we have a lot of threads from our aunties and great aunties who used to do embroidery. And so, she had all kinds of embroidery thread, yeah, just bags of it and we got a bunch from her grandma. And now I've gotten some for Christmas and for my birthday.”
The girls say they are now stocked with almost any color they need.
So, last year during the May-long weekend, the girls decided to challenge themselves to make enough bracelets to raise $1,000 from Steinbach Community Outreach. This meant a lot of bracelets would need to be made.
After 8 months, 20 pairs of hands, and about 250 bracelets made and then sold at $3 a piece, the ladies reached their goal. Even exceeding it because the person they sold the last bracelet to, just before Christmas, gave them $20 bringing the total to $1,013.
Now it was time to drop off the proceeds at Steinbach Community Outreach.
Thursday, January 12th, the two friends took several plastic bags filled with change and decided to surprise the staff at SCO.
To which, Myra Gerbrandt, the Drop-in Centre Director said, “This is incredible! Thank you so much. What a gift. We are just blown away. I am just really impressed. You, ladies, put a lot of work into this, and so much thought. What an inspiration you guys are to other people and to us here at SCO. Thank you. ”
Both Funk and Barkman say they had lots of help from family and friends in making all the bracelets as well as a very generous community, noting one person gave them $60 for one bracelet which surprised them, but they were very appreciative.
As to what's in the future for these two, "only great things I'm sure", says Gerbrandt.