I don’t know when it happened, but sometime in the last 10 years, people in their 20s became “kids” to me – as in, “Those kids in that band are so talented!” or “Kids today will never know the joy of getting the last VHS of a popular movie at the video store.” So, since Krochet Kids intl. was founded by three young men in their 20s, that name rings true to me.
Krochet Kids intl. started with Kohl Crecelius, Stewart Ramsey and Travis Hartanov. All three were high school friends from Spokane, Wash., who loved to – get this – knit and crochet. The trio went away to different colleges, but their passion for travel and volunteer work kept them tight. On a trip to Uganda, Ramsey was moved by the plight of the people there, who had been entangled in a 30-year civil war and left to live hopeless lives in refugee camps.
The three friends, joined by a new member of the pack – fellow knitter and college friend of Crecelius, Adam Thomson – decided to do something to help empower the women of Uganda. So they started Krochet Kids intl. in 2007.
The four “kids” turned to their unlikely pastime: knitting. They raised $30,000 by selling knitted caps and started a letter campaign. They then headed to Uganda armed with yarn and hooks, ready to teach their chosen art – and, more importantly, life skills – to a select group of women.
“The whole idea behind Krochet Kids is that we can equip women with the knowledge and the resources to eventually leave Krochet Kids and thrive,” Thomson told me on a recent tour of their ultra-hip studio headquarters located in Costa Mesa.
“We want to bring into our program the most vulnerable people and teach them a skill so that they can build their own savings and then, after three years in the program, go off and pursue their own business or continue their education.”
Six of the women recently completed their three-year program, and today they employ 165 women in Uganda and 35 in Peru. The women not only make caps – their adorable children’s knitted caps shaped like animals such as owls called “The Hoot” and a bear called “The Teddy” (Cue: “Awww!”) are worth a look – but a new spring collection offers even more variety. For instance women’s clutches, men’s ties and beautifully crafted t-shirts.
The great part about buying from Krochet Kids intl., aside from supporting and empowering women, is that each piece of clothing includes the signature of the women who created it.
Parents are encouraged to help their kids pop online and go to krochetkids.org. There, they can send a note to the women who made their product. What a great way to expand the worldview of Orange County kids! These local “kids” can help your kids make a difference with every purchase.