River Cities Gazette

Seniors at Miami Springs Senior Center knit caps for ill children

A GOOD HOLIDAY CAUSE: Volunteers at the Miami Springs Senior Center have donated more than 60 hand-made knitted caps to be used by terminally ill children and premature infants.
A GOOD HOLIDAY CAUSE: Volunteers at the Miami Springs Senior Center have donated more than 60 hand-made knitted caps to be used by terminally ill children and premature infants.
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River Cities Gazette

Local senior citizens are coming together to send a message of hope and to make a difference in the lives of others. 

Tatiana Carrillo’s mother, Marisol Archacha, passed away and left behind boxes and boxes of yarn and craft supplies. Carrillo decided to give the supplies to the Miami Springs Senior Center in hopes that they would put it to good use. 

After a short brainstorm session on what could be done with the yarn, the ladies of the Senior Center got busy. They have been busy using the yarn to make caps of all sizes. 

Small caps would be made for the preemies at Jackson Hospital and larger caps would be made for terminally ill children at Patches. Patches is place where babies and children are able to go, to get out of the hospital sooner and spend the day in an enriching environment where they can thrive physically, developmentally, and socially. 

After Gerry Smith volunteered to show the ladies how to make the caps, everyone jumped in and went to work. After just three weeks of knitting, the preemies at Jackson and the children of Patches would receive 60 caps that were made with love by our local seniors.

“My mother loved arts and crafts very much,” said Tatiana Carrillo. “I am so happy that her supplies are being put to good use.” 

The work is not yet done; in fact, it seems this is just the beginning. The ladies are continuing to make more caps. Every Wednesday after lunch at the Senior Center, ladies bring in the items they have finished. Smith returns weekly to help with any knitting questions or problems. The group socializes as they work on the caps and bring up new ideas they may have.

“Our seniors were so thrilled to have this opportunity to learn a new skill and share their time and creativity in an especially meaningful way,” said Karen Rosson, elderly services director. “It truly touched their hearts, as well as the lives of the children they are helping. This wonderful project, which enriched so many lives, was spearheaded by one of our community volunteers, Elizabeth King.”

Hours upon hours are spent making the caps. Some ladies work from home and some work as they are out and about running errands. While waiting for a dental appointment one senior was working on preemie cap — the office staff was so impressed they gave $50 to purchase more yarn. 

The group is now expanding from babies and children caps to include caps for senior shut-ins. Using the donated yarn, they are making approximately 50 more hats that will be put in gift packages and sent to shut-ins during the holidays.  

“This is an example of the caring spirits of the residents of Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens,” King said. “Beginning about two years ago we started making very useful tote bags. Many were sold for small donations, which were shared with the math team at the high school and other worthy projects. Those plastic bags were also recycled into holiday stockings which the seniors filled with goodies and delivered to about 50 homebound seniors last December.

“I am proud to be a part of such a special group of individuals, and none of this would be possible without the dedicated efforts of Karen and Betty in the office, or the City of Miami Springs and Village of Virginia Gardens.”

The Senior Center located on Payne Drive is open-year round. It’s a place where seniors come to receive a free lunch, to build friendships, and to participate in an array of activities and projects, but as we enter the month of December, the ladies at the Senior Center remind us all that it is much better to give than to receive. 

“Our seniors have willing, warm spirits and helping hands that enjoy engaging in new experiences,” Rosson said. “I'd like to extend an invitation to all other potential volunteers in our area who might have a particular talent, interest or expertise.”

If you are interested and have a few hours to share, call the Miami Springs Senior Center at (305) 805-5160.

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