Putting yourself out there can be daunting, especially in pandemic times and when the local language is not your first language. This is how Minhye felt when her friends left the country during the start of the pandemic, and she felt that “something was missing from her life.” Finding the courage to put herself out there and seek new connections, Minhye joined the Multicultural Women’s Support Group at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House.
After forming meaningful friendships through the support group, Minhye found guidance from her new friends for the idea of starting a "Multicultural Crochet Club" to meet new people in her neighbourhood at Acadia Park Student Family Residence. Minhye applied for the Inspiring Community Grant, which helped to fund crochet instructors, yarn, hooks and refreshments for the weekly meetups.
Why crochet? As Minhye described, “Crochet is a casual thing to do. Anyone can crochet, no matter what their background is!”
The UTown@UBC team met with Minhye after a crochet session to learn more about her and her Inspiring Community Grant project.
Debbie, UTown@UBC: What do you enjoy the most about living at Acadia Park?
Minhye: The nature! I’m so thankful to live here surrounded by this beautiful, amazing, nature. There are so many trees, wild animals, and flowers, and you can walk to the beach and forest. I even have a community garden plot for four years now, where I grow salad mix, sesame leaves and beans. It's very relaxing and calming, so I love that.
Debbie, UTown@UBC: How did you become interested in crocheting?
Minhye: Sophie and Maria are volunteers from the Multicultural Women’s Support Group at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House. I joined the group, and it was really nice because I met a lot of people there, and they are all from diverse backgrounds and have different ethnicities. I was always nervous every week there, but it was a good for my English skills. It was a very good experience. At the end of the group, we discussed the group’s next chapter and a member was eager to start a crochet group because they are a professional at crocheting. I have always dreamed of crocheting but I didn't know how. I am a total beginner!
Teanna, UTown@UBC: How do you think that crocheting can cultivate social connections?
Minhye: Crochet is a low-barrier activity, so it is easy for everyone to join. For example, the Multicultural Women’s Support Group is very familiar to me, but it was kind of difficult for me to get involved and share my ideas in English. With crocheting, I can talk to my neighbours about a variety of topics because crocheting makes it easy and comfortable to talk with them. So, crochet is like a bridge that makes neighbours connect. You can get involved in this community, even if you don’t have good English-speaking skills!
If Minhye’s project inspires you to share your ideas for cultivating community connections, apply for the Inspiring Community Grant to fund your project with up to $500. Applications are now open and reviewed on a rolling deadline until December 1, 2022.
Blog Post Written by Teanna Bailey, Community Programmer