I am so inspired by so many students that I have had the opportunity to recently connect with! Their entrepreneurial spirit and ability to set up student-run organizations, with the objective of making a difference within their communities – is simply amazing!
I recently had the opportunity to connect with Crystal, a high school student with a big heart looking to help those who may be in need. Crystal has recently founded Yarn Tales, a student-run organization with several ambassadors who are helping her in her mission. Learn more about Crystal and the initiatives she is starting with Yarn Tales in the interview below.
Who is Crystal and what motivates you?
“Who is Crystal has always been a funny question to me. I hardly ever sit back and think of how I would describe myself to others. If I had to though, I would say that Crystal is just an outgoing Nigerian girl that wants to have a positive impact on her world.
As cliché as it may sound, my mom is my greatest motivation. She set such a good example for my sisters and me about how hard work can really allow you to achieve anything you set out to. She continues to work hard so I can have all the tools I need to succeed in my life. I really appreciate her for that and that motivates me to work hard in all I do so I can show her that all her efforts have not been in vain.”
What are your favourite subjects in school and what do you plan to do after high school?
“I’m more of an arts and literature person so my favorite subject would have to be English. I just feel like it’s one of those classes where you can never truly be wrong if you have the right evidence to back you up.”
What are your future career aspirations and why?
“I hope to go into business and succeed enough to be able to invest and donate to programs and charities I resonate with. My more short-term goals are to get accepted into a business school here in Canada and specialize in economics and finance or business management. I think this will give me the foundation I need to pursue my more long-term goals.”
What inspired you to start Yarn Tales?
“When my family first moved to Canada, we were shocked by how cold the winters here are. We moved here from Nigeria, so we hadn’t ever even seen snow before. By our second year here, I was in grade 2 and that is when I joined the knitting club at my school. I started making hats and scarfs for my parents, siblings, and myself. They were effective, so I decided to keep up with this skill.
Fast forward to 2020 and Covid-19 becomes a global pandemic. I had already been thinking of doing some kind of clothing drive, but when I saw that many clothing donation sites had been closed indefinitely, I began thinking of the families like mine, who may have just moved to Canada and had no idea just how cold the winters were about to be. I also began to consider that over 200,000 people are homeless every year and thought of what I could do for them. That is how yarn tales was made. I brought together some of my friends who could also knit and started building our Instagram page.”
What is the mission behind your organization?
“We aim to make as many hats and scarfs before December 21st, which is the first day to winter. We are also aiming to raise awareness about homelessness and just social well-being in general. This will be done through future events we have planned such as clothing drives, knitting workshops, and some showcases.”
How many other students have joined your initiative? Are you looking for others to help? How can others get involved?
“Right now, we have 9 Ambassadors who, along with me will be knitting the hats and scarfs. We of course, as a charity, we are looking for as much help as we can get. In order to gather funds for the knitting equipment, such as the yarn, needles, and loom, we will be starting our Go Fund Me which can be found in our Instagram bio. The best help we can get from both students and non-students is their help in spreading awareness about what we are trying to do as well as their donations. Even a donation of one dollar will be a huge help. Any funds raised and not used to buy equipment will be donated to another charity that will be voted on by our followers on Instagram.”
What are some of the initiatives you will be planning this year? What is your goal, where will your knitted items be going?
“Some of our future initiatives people can look forward to are our knitting workshops, performing arts showcases to raise funds, and raffles. Of course, most of these things include human interaction but considering the present situation, most of these events will be altered to be held digitally. More information will be given on our website when it is put up, and of course on our Instagram page as the dates come closer.
The knitted items will be given to places like the salvation army, which is a place as right now they are not receiving donations. They will also be physically distributed on the streets of downtown. Finally, because of how things are right now with Covid-19, they will also be given to local hospitals like SickKids, which have a lot of families that are experiencing hardships and may not be able to afford winter clothes as well.”
Where can people go to learn more about and follow Yarn Tales?
“Our main social media page is on Instagram. We will be putting up a website soon. Once available, it will be set up as a link in our Instagram bio.”
What advice can you give other students who are looking to start an organization within their community?
“First of all, to anyone who is looking to start an organization, I want to applaud you. It takes a lot of hard work and a real passion for what you are trying to raise funds and/or bring awareness to. That said, remember that with hard work and dedication, it’s possible. So please do not ever be discouraged! I would strongly advise that you seek out like-minded groups. Find other organizations, run by youth as well, or about similar topics, and build relationships and partnerships with them. This will lead to overall more awareness being brought to your project and you’ll also feel supported by those other groups.”
I am so impressed by all of the student-run organizations that I have seen come together over the last while. The amount of students who are working through these times to built online communities to support one another and their physical communities is inspirational.
Joining or starting a student-run organization is a great opportunity for students to build experience to put on their resumes. It’s a way to develop their transferable and specialized and dabble in entrepreneurship. Moreover, students who are looking to get into sales, marketing, and communications are getting real experience – that they have taken the initiative to create for themselves!
Stay tuned to hear about more students doing great things in ReRouting’s Student Spotlight blog category!
Are you a student doing amazing things? Or have a friend that’s deserving of a spotlight nomination? I LOVE seeing students and recent grads, inspire their peers by sharing what they are doing!! If you are a hard-working student (or know someone who is), this is for you!! Reach out via this contact form.