sponsored by Grand Rapids Community Foundation
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“Knitted Knockers fill in where other options fail.”
To recipients of her “Knitted Knockers,” Encore Sharon Snoeyink is an angel of mercy. The name of the organization may make you smile, but for women on the receiving end of Knitted Knockers, it’s more apt to render tears of gratitude.
Founded just a few years ago, Knitted Knockers is now reaching nearly 50 states, including Michigan, where Sharon is devoting much of her encore years to providing soft, comfortable handcrafted breast forms for women who have undergone mastectomies.
Though she herself is not a victim of any breast ailment, her capacity for empathy increased when her husband contracted Parkinson’s. “Even though I can’t identify with breast cancer, I know what it’s like to be in a position of caring and to experience grief. This is my way of reaching out to others.”
It was a relative who first introduced her to Knitted Knockers and Sharon was instantly hooked. In just 10 months, she knitted roughly 200 knockers and helped distribute upward of 600 across the state.
She’s an extension of a national initiative begun in 2011 by Barbara Demorest of Washington, who founded the non-profit organization shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer and discovering that she was not a candidate for breast reconstruction surgery.
Sharon operates out of her Southeast-side home, closely partnering with neighbor Sandy Bennett. Together and with others, they not only knit, but also cultivate others to join in.
The response to her generosity is both amazing and emotional. “The day my surgeon’s office gave me your flier, I went online and ordered my knockers,” one recipient wrote to Sharon. “They arrived fast and when I opened the package, I cried tears of relief and joy.”
A nurse shared with Sharon that one of her cancer patients, upon receiving her knockers, “threw her prosthetics into the trash and had a smile on her face—the first smile we’ve seen in 20 years.”
Knockers fill in where other options fail, says Sharon, pointing out that surgery is not an option for some and how even the best of prosthetics can be heavy, itchy, cumbersome, ill fitting and leaky.
To obtain Knitted Knockers, women give their bra size and color choices and wait for a package to arrive—free of charge.
The Art Partner
Help adults of all abilities build social skills and develop self-confidence through artistic accomplishment and creative fellowship with Artists Creating Together (ACT).
Take action: Register at www.artistscreatingtogether.org by clicking on the volunteer tab.
The ArtPrize Sack Packer
Sign up to be an ArtPrize volunteer and get on the schedule for a September orientation date. If you can’t wait to pitch in, this month you can assist the education team with filling 11,000 Education Days cinch sacks with goodies to be distributed to PreK-12th grade students attending ArtPrize Eight programming.
Take action: Sign up at www.artprize.org/volunteer.
The Zookeeper Companion
You’re invited to attend an information session to learn about volunteer opportunities at the zoo on Sunday, August 21 at 2 p.m. in the Ball Room on the upper level of the Zoo’s Administration Building (it’s the big red brick building with the green awning out front).
Take action: RSVP (appreciated but not mandatory) by calling the volunteer manager at (616) 336-4317 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Local First Friend
Get in on the Local First of West Michigan wave in Grand Rapids and on the Lakeshore. Local First relies on a growing network of volunteers to plan and staff events, develop programming, and provide administrative support.
Take action: Join the volunteer opportunities online mailing list by introducing yourself in an email to email@example.com.
GirlsRock! Grand Rapids need women with musical experience to work with Girls Rock Camp participants. Support is also needed with gear, meals and leading workshops. Following the Girls Rock Camp, participants display their talents during the GirlsRock showcase at Wealthy Theatre on Sunday, August 21, 4 to 5 p.m.
Take action: Find a position that needs to be filled at www.girlsrockgr.org/volunteer.
The Meeter and Greeter
Helping out with door-to-door surveys, events planning and assisting with promotions for Avenue for the Arts gives you the opportunity to be involved in the happenings on South Division. Meet people involved in the local arts community, share your passion and feel great about giving your time and talents to make the world a better place.
Take action: Sign up at www.avenueforthearts.com/get-involved.
Sign up to be a producer with GRTV. GRTV provides the tools, training, and means of distribution for you to create your own program and air it on their cable access channel.
Take action: Sign up at http://www.grcmc.org/grtv/help/calls.
The Jazziest of All
Have fun and get a free GRandJazzFest t-shirt and plenty of cold bottled water while enjoying West Michigan’s awesome jazz festival. Volunteers are needed to help at the merchandise tent, set up and others duties.
Take action: Register at www.grandjazzfest.org/volunteers.