Scarf project keeps orphans warm

A group of GW community members are stitching with love for the third year in a row, knitting scarves for college-bound students who were orphaned or live in foster care.

The group – called the Red Scarf Project – was co-founded in 2007 by Deborah Snelgrove, senior executive director for Communication and Creative Services, and sends handmade red scarves to The Orphan Foundation of America, an organization that supports fostered children.

The project has grown in size each year. Today members of the organization include parents of GW students, faculty and staff members.

“Volunteer knitters were not difficult to find,” Snelgrove said in an e-mail. “Parents, staff, faculty, and students are all involved. The GW parent community is the most actively involved in knitting scarves. It even includes grandparents and family friends from home of GW students.”

Snelgrove said the organization knits red scarves because the color signifies love.

“There is no comparison between a handmade and a store bought scarf when it comes to quality and artistry,” Snelgrove said.

She added, “the gift of time, wool and a handmade work of art speaks volumes to the recipient and wearer of a warm symbol of kindness, caring, friendship, and support.”

Carrie Warick, a GW alumna and co-founder of the organization, said the Red Scarf Project “is a great way for the GW community to give back to college students across the country.”

Last year, University President Steven Knapp’s wife Diane donated wool from their family’s sheep farm for the project. The wool helped to make eight of the scarves the group created, Snelgrove said.

Snelgrove said her organization has received positive feedback from the University and from the Orphan Foundation of America, which also provides orphans with college scholarships and sends care packages.

“They have said on many occasions that they are overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our University community,” she said.

Snelgrove said she is thrilled by the support her organization has received from the GW community.

“What better community than a University community to reach out to other college-aged students and send a message of encouragement and red scarf love,” Snelgrove said.

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