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Jade Sims is the founder of the magnificent Craft Hope project, which shares handmade craft projects with those in need. Now the author of Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause, Jade continues to do this good work that’s such an integral part of her life–but always second to her family. Following up on an earlier interview with Jade by Kathy Sheldon, I asked this inspiring crafter, go-getter, and role model about her values, her hopes, and what Craft Hope has taught her about human nature.

 

Jade Sims (third from left) with Lark Crafts' Paige Gilchrist, Nicole McConville, and Beth Sweet

Jade, what values are most important to you?
Generosity, humility, and community.

The generosity that I have witnessed in the Craft Hope community truly makes me speechless. I am amazed by the willingness of others to give their time; to create handmade gifts for people they don’t know; to donate trucks for shipping items; to donate space, supplies, and materials—all for the cause of Craft Hope.

No one ever asks for anything in return. It’s about the satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference and did something for someone else.

Humility—to be humble in all that you do—is a value that I work very hard to teach my children. When I work with Craft Hope I give all of the credit to the people who make up Craft Hope.

I’m simply the middle man that had a good idea. This community truly blows my mind.

What type of crafting do you most enjoy?

Honestly, I love making crafts with my kids. Whether it’s covering their little hands in paint to make a hand-print painting or having the children cut out fabric to make a pillowcase dress, I love it all.

I work really hard to keep my kids involved in Craft Hope.

Working with charities, what have you learned that’s most surprised you? Moved you? Challenged you?

For all three things, it’s the generosity and goodwill of the people behind the charities.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a small or large organization, they all operate with big hearts and open minds to help others. The charities Craft Hope is involved with all have unbelievable people working for them. They are so grateful for the assistance they are receiving from us.

They inspire and challenge me to take Craft Hope to the far reaches of the Earth. Sometimes it might be orphans in Liberia that need us, while other times it’s the sea turtles along the Gulf Coast.

These organizations keep me thinking outside of the box for ways in which people can step up and help using handmade gifts.

What advice would you give someone intending to work with charities?

To open your heart to the possibilities.

Most of these organizations are running on shoestring budgets and very few people. They need help and are incredible appreciative of it.

Sometimes it’s taking the first step that’s the hardest part–like going up to the local homeless shelter and stepping out of your comfort zone to serve at a soup kitchen.

It’s our own fears that keep us from stepping out sometimes.

What has your work taught you about human nature, hopefulness, and compassion?

I have seen a side of people that has truly humbled me. People really have an inherent desire to help other people, help their community, and make the world a better place.

Most people just need a starting off point and then they can take off. That’s what Craft Hope does for so many.

For example, ConKerr Cancer makes bright, fun pillowcases to lift the spirits of terminally children with cancer. There were a few states and many countries that didn’t have coordinators for ConKerr Cancer, and the Craft Hope community has stepped in: Many people have volunteered to be the ConKerr coordinator for their area. So we’ve not only got people making pillowcases, we also now have them connected in their local community and receiving donations.

The needs are so great and varied. How does someone begin?

Simply by asking what’s needed. Find out what the organizations need and work from there.

What surprises people most about you, Jade?

Probably that I wasn’t brought up crafting. I played sports. And I only learned to sew a couple of years ago when I became a stay-at-home mom and started reading blogs.

What’s your best hope for what this work looks like in 10 years? Will you still be doing it?

I’d love to see Craft Hope going global. I see Craft Hope having different chapters around the world. There is so much need and so much we can do.

I’d love to expand Craft Hope and continue to encourage children to craft–we are teaching a generation how to be. And I would  love to continue to work with terrific organizations.

Yes, I will still be doing Craft Hope.

 
 
 
 

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