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Krochet Kids intl.

Non Profit, Social Enterprise

Spinning New Life

Krochet Kids intl.’s hand-crocheted beanies have an easy, relaxed style with an edginess that hints at the founders’ snowboarding and surfing roots. But style is just the beginning of the story. What started as an unusual hobby for three young guys from Spokane, Wash., has turned into a life-changing effort to help impoverished people learn how to crochet and, by extension, to support themselves.

The three guys are Kohl Crecelius, Travis Hartanov and Stewart Ramsey, who were dubbed the “Krochet Kids” after they started
crocheting their own hats in high school. Inspired by a desire to help people living in poverty, the three friends traveled to Uganda in 2007 and taught a small group of women how to crochet. Today, the nonprofit Krochet Kids organization employs 87 women in Uganda who divide their time between crocheting beanies and attending classes on topics such as personal budgeting and business management. The mission of Krochet Kids is to blend humanitarian aid and financial education in a way that empowers people to become self-reliant.

Each hat is signed by its maker. Akot Beatrice (left), a mother of five, is just one example. “My dream is to see that one day all of my children achieve higher levels of education,” she says. “I dream to buy a piece of land where my family can settle peacefully.”

Krochet Kids recently expanded beyond beanies to include T-shirts and scarves. The apparel and accessories adhere to the same founding credo: to offer comfort and style while serving as a vehicle for social change. Hats off to that.

— Ann
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Krochet Kids - creating change through crochet
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Kohl
    Kohl

    My name is Kohl. My last name is Crecelius and it sounds Greek, but I am not. While I was in high school my older brother taught me to crochet, and I would have never imagined that it would lead me to where I am today… working alongside my best friends in our non-profit organization (Krochet Kids international) which is empowering nearly 100 women in Northern Uganda through employment and education.

    Every product that is made by Krochet Kids intl. is hand-signed by the woman who made it, and you can even write her a thank you note after you purchase your new favorite beanie. At our core, we are about relationships and we don't attribute anything that we have accomplished to our own hands, but to the thousands of people who support our work through their fashion and their voices. And because they do, women and families are being cared for around the globe.

    Buy a hat. Change a life.

  • Jennifer J
    Jennifer J
    1/5/11 1:13 PM

    This is beautiful. Thank you Kohl for acting as a catalyst to "being the change".

  • Amy
    Amy
    1/5/11 1:16 PM

    This is awesome... May God bless your efforts and return them ten-fold...

  • DJP
    DJP
    1/5/11 2:02 PM

    @Amy: I agree with you. This looks awesome. What a great story -- a bunch of high schoolers learning the art -- and then turning it into a business that does something for others!! I'm just having trouble deciding which of the products I'm going to buy!!

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 1:29 PM

    Hi guys! I'll be available today to talk more about Krochet Kids intl. Any questions?

  • Maria O
    Maria O
    1/5/11 1:36 PM

    @Kohl Crecelius:

    i love this work you've done...how can i get my kids involved? Anything around Orange County?

    thanks

    M.

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 1:46 PM

    @Maria O: We are based out of Costa Mesa, CA and occasionally have need for volunteers at our HQ. You can email help@krochetkids.org for more info. Thanks!

  • JM
    JM
    1/5/11 1:45 PM

    Have a beautiful scarf from KKI. Love this org so much! Thank you & Happy New Year!

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 1:48 PM

    @JM: You are awesome.

  • quest2011
    quest2011
    1/5/11 1:45 PM

    I'm interested in how/why you can justify this taking priority over something more local and closer to home. And why Uganda with an entire continent to consider?

    Are you doing anything to stop child trafficking (or at least lessen it)?

    Are your books open to the public so we can judge for ourselves that the money is going where it should be so no one has to "take your word for it"?

    What would you do with a million dollar grant from the Gates Foundation?

    Where do you see yourself and your org. in 10 years?

    *post edited by admin*

    Am I the only one who thinks $38.00 seems high for a scarf that you wouldn't look twice at if you saw it in a store window?

    How do most people react when you tell them what you do for a living?

    Thanks in advance for considering my questions.

    -quest2011.

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 2:05 PM

    @quest2011: Here we go...

    I'm interested in how/why you can justify this taking priority over something more local and closer to home. And why Uganda with an entire continent to consider?

    - We realize there is need all over our world, including here at home, and while we hope to be able to have programs all around the world we realized it was important to start somewhere. In Northern Uganda, we saw a great opportunity to help a population of people that are in desperate need, so we started.

    Are you doing anything to stop child trafficking (or at least lessen it)?

    - Our mission as an organization is "to empower people to rise above poverty". A by product of our mission is women being able to take care of their families, which allows them to offer the food, education, and sanitation that they need. By providing a job we are taking away the scary necessity that some families have to resort to other forms of income like the one you mentioned. We are proud to be helping in this way.

    Are your books open to the public so we can judge for ourselves that the money is going where it should be so no one has to "take your word for it"?

    - We are a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our books are open to the public to view and we are proud of this as well. They can be found on our website under the "who we are" section of our website.

    What would you do with a million dollar grant from the Gates Foundation?

    - Start a plethora of similar programs throughout the world that focus on the sustainable empowerment for individuals and communities.

    Where do you see yourself and your org. in 10 years?

    - Doing what was mentioned in the previous response :)

    *edited by admin

    Am I the only one who thinks $38.00 seems high for a scarf that you wouldn't look twice at if you saw it in a store window?

    - The scarves are actually only $32, and there may be other people that think that. That's fine with us. :)

    How do most people react when you tell them what you do for a living?

    - Generally, people are really encouraging and excited for our work. Thanks!

  • jennj99738
    jennj99738
    1/5/11 2:06 PM

    @quest2011- I really don't know what your point is except maybe to troll but their financials are available on their website: http://www.krochetkids.org/who-we-are/financials/

  • Mary Ann
    Mary Ann
    1/5/11 2:08 PM

    @quest2011: Wow! A bit cynical - Some of you comment was just downright nasty. What have you done lately for the empowerment of those less fortunate?

  • Jennonred
    Jennonred
    1/5/11 2:03 PM

    Could you come teach crochet to the poor people in Brevard County Florida? Then market our work online? We would be happy for anything in this community.

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 3:18 PM

    @Jennonred: We're sorry but it's not in our current strategy to begin any programs within the US. However, there are a number of websites where you can market and sale your own handmade goods here at home. One great example is www.etsy.com! Thanks.

  • Cricket
    Cricket
    1/5/11 5:40 PM

    @Kohl Crecelius: RE: ETSY Just thought I'd share with you that there is currently a boycott movement and a petition from change.org regarding ETSY. One of their retailers is currently offering "Congratulatory" cards for rape victims. There are also "Congratulatory" cards intended for breast cancer patients. They also have cards demeaning the parents of Downs Syndrome children. For most of us these greeting cards are in exceptionally bad taste and obscene but ETSY refuses to drop the retailer. You might think twice before recommending ETSY in the future. They are obviously supporting some very pathetic causes.

    SEE: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/tell_etsy_to_remove_rape_congratulations_cards_from_website

  • Mary Ann
    Mary Ann
    1/5/11 2:12 PM

    @Kohl Crecelius: Lovely response to a very undignified and seemingly bitter person. Thank you for what you are doing and I am going to order some scarves!!!!

  • sheila
    sheila
    1/5/11 2:14 PM

    I am put off by the tone of quest2011. It's perfectly ok to ask questions but his comment should be removed for some of the content. Not cool. I like you Krochet boys!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    1/5/11 2:31 PM

    I am in awe of you three gentleman. You are to be commended for doing something that makes this world a better place. I am happy that the Daily Grommet Community can help you make the lives of these women better.

    We don't mind people asking tough questions, but most questions you wish to know the answer to can be phrased respectfully and doing so will ensure that it stays posted. By being disrespectful, you risk your post being removed and your point of view not being communicated at all. I did delete the completely inappropriate question from quest2011. Kohl's grace in the face of this commenter shows his true character and I for one am impressed.

  • Belinda
    Belinda
    1/5/11 9:56 PM

    @Katherine Klinger: Amen

  • Wendy
    Wendy – Grommet Team
    1/5/11 2:40 PM

    I admire Kohl, Travis & Stewart. I don't know many men who crochet and I definitely don't know anyone who took their talent to a developing country to help others help themselves. This is powerful and inspiring. I'm touched by every aspect of this story. And, by the way, the scarves are the softest, most luxurious hand made scarves I have ever felt. They are so worth the price and will give you so much more -- since you will see the name of the person who made it every time you wear it. Priceless. Thanks again for all you do for others.

  • Kate
    Kate
    1/5/11 3:03 PM

    Have you been able to witness a change in this Ugandan community since you first started your program?

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 3:14 PM

    @Kate: Thanks for asking, and to answer your question... absolutely! I think the greatest change we have seen is in the individual ladies that we work with. The confidence and joy they have through their work is inspiring. Also, through our research it is shown that the ladies have a direct impact on at least 6 other people, and an indirect impact on up to 20 people in their local community. Now that we are employing nearly 90 women, you can imagine the ripple effect!

  • Lisa
    Lisa
    1/5/11 3:24 PM

    Amazing and wonderful. Keep up the good work!!

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 4:28 PM

    @Lisa: Thanks Lisa!

  • Christi Gibson
    Christi Gibson
    1/5/11 3:49 PM

    We are crocheting at our church to change lives, too! We are trying to teach our folks to save plastic grocery bags which are then cut and looped into "plarn" (plastic yarn) which is then croceted into sleeping mats for the homeless. We've only made three so far, but it's a growing effort!

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 4:29 PM

    @Christi Gibson: Thanks for sharing. Keep it up!

  • Miriam
    Miriam
    1/5/11 4:02 PM

    Great job! Thanks for doing your share to make the world a better place!

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 4:29 PM

    @Miriam: Thank you!

  • Karen Potteiger
    Karen Potteiger
    1/5/11 4:11 PM

    Hey there,

    Love this! Just curious, inside the hat the tag says something like,"ONEP4:8" What does that mean?

    Thanks!

  • Kohl
    Kohl – Special Guest
    1/5/11 4:30 PM

    @Karen Potteiger: Great question. 1 Peter 4:8 - "Above all love each other deeply..." We are an organization founded on loving others, and we thought this summed it up nicely. :)

  • Cricket
    Cricket
    1/5/11 5:54 PM

    @Cricket: Sorry, I don't know why my comment is being repeated. A computer glitch I suspect. However, this store is still up on ETSY and they are totally offensive - there are also congratulations cards for those newly diagnosed with AIDS, as well as really offensive relationship cards. Very unfortunate for ETSY that they don't view this retailer as inappropriate.

  • dko317
    dko317
    1/5/11 10:04 PM

    Thank you for your work and the work of the organization. Please, don't stop.

  • Drew
    Drew
    1/6/11 4:19 PM

    What a great story. Cudos to you and your team Kohl...and thanks Grommet...you've done it again: I watched the video with no expectations I'd buy the product...but by the end I "needed" (ok a bit strong) the product and was a big fan of Krochet Kids Int'l.

  • Stacey
    Stacey
    1/7/11 3:45 PM

    Are the hats made of wool yarn? You will sell more if you list the fabric content in your descriptions. Thank you.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    1/7/11 3:51 PM

    @Stacey: The hats are a 50% Wool / 40% Angora / 10% Acrylic blend. We add additional information about the products we sell on the 'Details' tab of the feature. You can find the tab below the feature's video, above the story. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Rebecca Aguilar
    Rebecca Aguilar
    9/23/11 6:41 PM

    What you three have done and created is a blessing. May god bless your lives for all you've done and accomplished its his grace that brought you this far don't forget to thank him.

  • Aly
    Aly
    9/29/11 2:45 PM

    I think what you guys are doing is amazing. At my school we have to do a presentation of a person or group that is inspiring to us and I chose you guys.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    9/29/11 4:37 PM

    @Aly: That is so cool. You made a great choice. I will be sure to let the guys know.

  • Sharon
    Sharon
    11/16/11 11:51 AM

    What a wonderful thing these young men are doing! I'm in! Now...I am most embarassed to admit I am unable to figure out how to order these products. :) Any help would be appreciated.

  • Katherine
    Katherine
    11/16/11 12:46 PM

    @Sharon: I agree - they are beyond amazing. We are no longer selling these hats on our site but if you click on the 'Visit Now' button just to the right of the video, you will be taken directly to their site krochetkids.org.

  • Tom
    Tom
    11/28/11 5:34 PM

    @Katherine Klinger: KKi has attracted the attention of a group of students at the University of Nore Dame and we are looking to gain some insight for a potential case study publication highlighting the model being used. I see that this Q&A took place months ago, but we would love access to something similar! Any chance you could put me in touch with Kohl? Thanks.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    11/28/11 5:40 PM

    @Tom: I will forward your information on to him and if it's something that he can do, I know he will be in touch with you.

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