PASO ROBLES PRESS — Some very hip, warm scarves may be popping up in the next weeks around Paso Robles. These darling, fleece and soft fabric scarves come with tags that instruct community members to please wear them and keep warm.
The scarves have been lovingly made and donated by a group of five children, ages almost three to seven, in Stormy Capalare’s Paso Robles home preschool, ‘Capalare Preschool.’ The fabric has been donated by Birch Fabrics on Pine Street in Paso, with the idea that no one should be left out in the cold.
“Little hands made this with big hearts,” the tags read. “We give them to people that need warmth,” said four-year-old Kalani, whose scarf-making group makes some of the scarves for family and friends, and extra for Paso Robles community members. “Giving something to other people that I know they need makes me happy.”
Kalani’s mom, Capalare, is the teacher for her two sons, Kalani and Makai, as well as three more children. She began teaching the children how to start their own scarf-making mission after observing too many people around Paso who were appeared cold and uncomfortable in the wintry weather. As the head of a preschool, she knew every good deed can be a learning experience for her students, so she got to thinking that those little hands could braid the fabric to make scarves.
“You can’t turn away when it’s just right there in front of you,” said Capalare, whose husband is the Principal at Pat Butler Elementary school. Capalare, a credentialed teacher, has been running a preschool out of her home since her two sons were babies. She shared her thoughts of “warming” the city on Facebook, and learned from networking how others around the nation were knitting scarves for those in need. After a good brainstorm on how to share the scarves and to expose the children to helping in the community (at an age-appropriate level), the knitter and fabric-lover decided her youngest students may not be able to knit but they could braid fabric with her tutelage, so she called around to a couple of corporate businesses to gather some fabric for their cause. She said it was a learning experience for her sons and herself, realizing that larger businesses have lengthy forms and long protocols for donations, but the local fabric store, Birch Fabrics was ready and willing right away, offering piles of fabrics with minor imperfections.
“We cheered and horayed when we hung up,” said Capalare, who feels giving the next generation an extra boost of empathy is what we need to change the world. “Finding value in doing for others!” she said.
“I love their fabric,” she said of the store Birch. “It’s kind of one of my happy places.” Capalare took the children on a field trip to Birch so the children could share their plan to make scarves with the Birch employees.
The braided and knotted scarves have been made and will be dispersed as soon as Capalare finds a weather-proof way to hang them around the streets of Paso. There will also be some knit scarves made by Capalare herself.
Three-year-old Lilli explained, “When a person doesn’t have a home they will be so cold and they’ll like the scarf because it’s beautiful and warm.”
“When someone feels cold I give them a scarf and they like it,” said almost-3-year-old Arlyn.
“Without hesitation they agreed to contribute the majority of the fabric,” Capalare said. “The idea was that each kiddo would start with a goal of two scarves. One to keep and one to give.”
The scarves for keeping would be reminders of the joy of giving to those in need, and Capalare said, “The scarves they give to those in need, we thought, would act as a big hug reminding that person that someone with little hands and a big heart cares.”
Capalare said the joy and love they experienced after making the scarves was “priceless,” especially the conversations she has had with the children about helping people in need.
“It makes me feel big and strong,” said 3-year-old Char.
“It’s really fun and we can do it almost anywhere,” said Capalare’s son Makai, age 7. Makai has made more than ten scarves already, as the biggest producer in the bunch. “Helping other people makes me feel happy because I’m helping someone that really needs something. It make me feel a little like a superhero.”
You may reach Reporter Beth Giuffre at [email protected] for questions and/or feedbback.
Photos courtesy of Stormy Capalare
Arlyn, who is almost 3, models a scarf she made herself.
Stormy Capalare, preschool teacher, instructs Char, age 3, how to braid fabric for their scarf-making mission.
Lilli, who is 3 years old, models a scarf she made herself.
(from left) Kalani, age 4, Makai (Kai), age 7, and Lilli, age 3, stand in front of Birch Fabric, which donated ‘imperfect’ fabric to the preschool group for their humanitarian scarf-making mission.