More than 100 handmade scarves donated to Special Olympics

Since 2003, Penn State Brandywine Student Affairs Specialist Diane Shorter and Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Laura Guertin have led an initiative to create handmade items for nonprofit organizations with an identified need. Again this year, campus and community members came together with knitting needles and crochet hooks to make scarves for Pennsylvania athletes competing in the 2012 Special Olympics USA.

Last year, with the help of volunteers, they sent 83 scarves to be worn by the athletes as they marched during the opening ceremonies and games. This year, the group surpassed that number with 119 handmade, blue and red scarves sent to this year's athletes.

"We had requests to help this organization again," Guertin said, "so we picked up our needles and hooks to help the 2012 Special Olympians in Pennsylvania. We knew this was a popular project with our volunteers, but we did not anticipate even more volunteers helping to create 119 handmade scarves in this year's Special Olympics USA colors of blue and red. I have a feeling we will see this project on our list for 2013. Stay tuned!"

The volunteers call themselves the Knittany Lion Needleworks and there will soon be an official club on campus dedicated to sewing, crocheting and knitting items for donation.

Freshman accounting major Theressa Ha is leading the initiative to create the club. "This is something fun to do and it's for a good cause," she said. "I've always wanted to learn how to knit and crochet so this is a fun way to learn."

Guertin is thrilled about Ha's desire to make the group official. "We're excited," she beamed. "We've got this new energy now!"

Volunteers from Granite Farms estates made and donated nearly half of the 119 scarves, while others came from current students, alumni parents and community members. "Sometimes the scarves just show up and we don't know who they're from!" Guertin and Shorter said.

Visit for more information about Knittany Lion Needleworks.