Where Volunteers Make a Difference

Inspiration is a beautiful force, and something that Group Projects Volunteer, Karen Laszewski, feels every day while knitting and crocheting. Karen can knit for up to eight hours a day and never lose her zest for the craft! She describes it as "painting with yarn," and she can create masterpieces with the small balls of yarn and specialty yarn that are donated to the Group Projects Program. Most knitters pass by these yarn bundles due to their inconvenience or burdensome texture, but Karen is resourceful and can create beautiful, warm hats and scarves from any yarn that is given to her.

"I grew up in a house that was always cold so I have a personal mission when it comes to helping others stay warm," Karen states.

Karen Laszewski began volunteering with RSVP almost 10 years ago and has been knitting and crocheting her way to 7,690 volunteer hours, wearing out many knitting needles along the way. She is a Homeworker with Group Projects.

"I am so proud to be part of RSVP, " says Karen. "I'm sociable but don't attend many groups due to my own health. My heart is always there, however. "

From her home, she has knitted and crocheted thousands of items that have been donated to the less fortunate families throughout Dane County. She takes pictures of each creation and has kept every thank you card sent to her by the recipients of her hats, shawls and scarves. She pulls these cards out for periodic review to remind her of how her creations improve the lives of those around her. "This gives me reason to keep going," she says.

"My father, Staff Sgt. Harry O. Wells, Jr. was killed in action during WW II," Karen explains. "I was barely two. To fill that void, all my knitting and crocheting is done in my father's honor. His mission was to protect and serve. My mission is also to protect - protect as many community members as I can from the coldness of Wisconsin winters. I want anyone who gets something that I have made to know that someone out there loves and cares enough to keep them warm. I will never meet them, but in my heart, I know them."

If you or anyone you know might like to join Karen's mission in helping to keep our community warm, safe and comforted, please contact Kate Seal, RSVP Group Projects & Homeworkers Coordinator: 608-310-7280 or . Whether you're a novice or expert quilter, sewer, knitter or crocheter, please inquire. All are welcomed and supported.