Amy Berman changed the entire direction of her life after reading just one magazine article. She was troubled by a story about young children in South Africa who were being raped because some men believed that having sex with a virgin would cure them of AIDS. The news was so disturbing that she went to the internet to learn more.
South African police were asking for items of comfort for the children. She thought about how her own children were comforted, and an image of the bears her mom knit for her kids came to mind. These bears stayed close to them even when all the store-bought bears disappeared over time. But Amy was an advertising sales rep and a mother-not someone who sat on a couch with extra time on her hands.
“I didn’t know how to knit, so I asked my mom to show me how to cast on my first stitch. I was determined to make this bear. I then began teaching people how to knit bears in my home once a week for months until I had enough bears for the first shipment.”
The Mother Bear Project began with that first bear. To date, 98,550 bears have been sent to children affected by HIV/AIDS. Her tagline,” Make a bear. Make a difference,” speaks to the hearts of those on both sides of the project. The joy that she offers knitters by creating easy patterns and instructions and then facilitating the delivery of teddy bears to hurting children remains as important as each child’s response.
“I have learned that sometimes you simply need to follow your heart, regardless of the direction you expected to follow. I had no experience in the non-profit world and certainly had no plans of starting a non-profit organization, but in my heart I felt I had no choice.” Amy shared.” I think one must pursue the things that mean the most to them rather than living with regret for not trying. I also have learned that small things can have very large outcomes, and that giving from the heart benefits those giving as much as those receiving—maybe even more.”
Amy’s example is exactly why we, at Crafts Changing Hearts, believe that one person can powerfully impact the lives of others. She has also provided another encouraging challenge for us, as we have just received our kit and one of us will be knitting a bear! For more information about ordering your own kit, click here.