Caps to the Capitol

Knitters and crocheters from Houston and across the country are helping the "Save the Children" group help babies in developing countries. As Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports one group in Houston is challenging the stereotype of who creates with yarn to help out in the effort.

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The latest group to join the effort is elementary students at the Westwood School in Friendswood. Just as sports are not just for boys, knitting is not just for girls. Lael Lockhart is learning how to knit along with several of his friends.

"It's pretty fun after you get the hang of it, but if you don't get the hang of it you'll mess up and have to retry every time."

Skylar McHenry has a year of knitting experience under her belt.

"I started in second grade and I'm still knitting now. I've made a bracelet, belts and I'm making a stuffed animal, my grandmother's helping me."

McHenry says she'll be teaching her grandmother how to make a cap. McHenry is learning how a skill such as knitting can make a difference for others.

"I learned that the cap can save a baby's life. And how does it save a baby's life? By keeping its head warm"

The children are part of a knitting program at the school and they've decided to take part in the Caps to the Capital campaign. It grew out of the last Mother's Day report issued by "Save the Children." Child Health Expert Kathryn Bolles says two million babies die during the first 24 hours of life each year in developing countries.

"Putting a cap on a baby's head really does a life. So very simple solutions are out there. People think, when you think about newborn deaths in the U.S. you think about incubators, and high technology, high expense, and really 70 percent of these newborn deaths can be saved with things like wrapping, breast-feeding, treating an infection if it's there."

Laura Danielson belongs to the Knitters Unlimited Guild and volunteers at Westwood Elementary. The program at the school started four years ago and now has more than 75 children.

"Originally the program was we just made squares and the mothers volunteered to crochet them together and then those were donated to crisis pregnancy center, and then to hurricane victims and a local nursing home."

Now the kids will be doing caps for premature newborns until the end of the school semester. Nationwide, Save the Children report they have received more than 25,000 caps. They'll be presented to President George Bush in January before they are shipped overseas to programs in developing countries. For more information about the Caps to the Capital campaign, log on to Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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