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Crafting Gifts and Friendships

Meeting every Wednesday during lunch, Crafting Crew gives participants an opportunity to lend a hand.

Blake Pak and Rakel Ang

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Snip, tape, scribble. Snip, tape, scribble.

Over the past two months, students and staff have been working together to make crafts with the special needs students.  The Wednesday activity that students have been participating in since earlier this year with their peers is known as Crafting Crew.

Ms. Jazmin Avedo, the special education teacher at San Marino High School, started Crafting Crew “to encourage leadership roles for some of [the] students” while creating bonds with their peers, she said.  

Since the first week in October, Crafting Crew has been  “providing . . . students with moderate to severe disabilities a venue to create meaningful social connections,” Avedo explained.

Student leaders pick an art project for their peers, create a list of supplies needed, and prepare to instruct their classmates how to make the craft step-by-step each week.

The volunteers have developed meaningful relationships with these special education students. The main group of volunteers who regularly help with preparations and teaching the crafts include Kayla Cardenas, Alyssa de la Torre, Jessica Gonzalez and Marco Wong.

I wanted to be a part of making [the kids] happy, smile and laugh,” Cardenas said. “The best moments in Crafting Crew are seeing the kids smile and enjoying the crafts they are making.”

De la Torre’s passion for the work she does was evident when she explained her reasons for joining Crafting Crew.

When we did our first craft, one of the students held my hand and gave me a hug with a big smile on his face,” de la Torre said. “ It made me happy knowing I was able to make someone else happy.”

Since then, de la Torre  has become close friends with one of the special education students named Alisha.

“We bonded while during Craft Crew every Wednesday,” de la Torre said. “She always has a smile on her face [and] now considers me to be one of her best friends.”

Alyssa joined the crew to work with new students and to build her leadership, she said.

In October and November, Crafting Crew members have undertaken many different activities.  Some of the projects have included slime making, stress balls, Halloween skeletons, and pumpkin painting.  

More recently, students have began to prepare for the the annual Special Education Local Plan Areas Craft Fair. The Fair is an annual event hosted by the West San Gabriel Valley SELPA office where students with special needs sell handmade craft, with proceeds going to their  individual programs or charities. SMHS special needs students are going to make Christmas crafts such as Popsicle and candy cane ornaments.

Avedo’s enthusiasm for Crafting Crew echoes that of the students’.

The students have become so excited about interacting with their peers,” Avedo said. “They will regularly ask me and the other students, ‘What are we making this week?’ and are extremely enthusiastic about having an opportunity to spend time and learn from their fellow Titans.”

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Crafting Gifts and Friendships