How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts- Good Magazine

this is an old article that recently resurfaced and was brought to my attention. and it’s incredible. an extraordinary woman behind the vision, a unique vision, and the betterment of an entire society behind the progress. providing hope and enjoyment to the outcasts who perhaps are the hardest to give it to but most in need of it: convicts. i was especially struck by the friendships formed between the most unlikely of people and the softening that seemed to occur in the hearts of those who were just waiting for something to soften them. just beautiful. is God putting something on your heart? press on, sister.

from Jillian Anthony for Good Magazine:

How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts

by Jillian Anthony

In late 2009, Lynn Zwerling stood in front of 600 male prisoners at the Pre-Release Unit in Jessup, Maryland. “Who wants to knit?” she asked the burly crowd. They looked at her like she was crazy.

Yet almost two years later, Zwerling and her associates have taught more than 100 prisoners to knit, while dozens more are on a waiting list to take her weekly class. “I have guys that have never missed one time in two years,” Zwerling says. “Some reported to us that they miss dinner to come to class.”

Zwerling, 67, retired in 2005 after 18 years of selling cars in Columbia, Maryland. She didn’t know what to do with her time, so she followed her passion and started a knitting group in her town. No one came to the first meeting, but the group quickly grew to 500 members. “I looked around the room one day and I saw a zen quality about it,” Zwerling says. “Here were people who didn’t know each other, had nothing in common, sitting together peacefully like little lambs knitting. I thought, ‘It makes me and these people feel so good. What would happen if I took knitting to a population that never experienced this before?’”

Her first thought was to bring knitting to a men’s prison, but she was turned down repeatedly. Wardens assumed the men wouldn’t be interested in a traditionally feminine hobby…


{photo and words courtesy of Magazine.Good.Is}

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