As part of our graduation requirements, each Morgan Park Academy student completes a capstone project focused on a particular passion of theirs. Students work over the course of several months to conceive, plan, and execute a project, then present their results to Upper School faculty and administrators at the end of their junior year.

Knot Your Average Therapy

Sophia’s Mindful Stitches is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower and support women and teens who have experienced trauma by providing them with the tools and skills to heal and express themselves through crocheting and knitting.

My motivation for creating Sophia’s Mindful Stitches stems from my personal love for crochet and sewing, which I eagerly wish to share with others. I’ve experienced firsthand the mental health benefits that come from engaging in creative activities, and I’m enthusiastic about extending this positive impact. In a world where children are increasingly absorbed by their phones and social media, I believe that introducing them to the joys of creative pursuits offers a more fulfilling and enriching alternative.

Our goal is to teach women and teens the therapeutic benefits of crocheting and knitting, including reducing anxiety and depression, promoting mindfulness and relaxation, and increasing self-esteem and confidence. We also aim to provide access to high-quality materials and resources, so individuals can practice and develop their skills.

At the heart of our mission is the belief that every woman and teen deserves the opportunity to heal from trauma and move forward with their lives. By providing the tools to express themselves creatively, we hope to help our participants find a sense of purpose, belonging, and hope for the future.

Last winter, I made a Sophia’s Mindful Stitches website, which includes a blog on which I post every two weeks, a new inspirational quote every two weeks, and helpful links and references. I have written a total of 16 blog posts so far, including informational and instructional pieces.

In the spring, I created a board of directors that includes two members of the MPA faculty, Mrs. Drown and Ms. Stec. With a board of directors in place, I was able to file paperwork with the state of Illinois to be a recognized non-profit organization as well as the IRS to be recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization.

I have begun to accept donations in the past few months, receiving $5,035, two bags of crochet hooks, and many garbage bags of yarn. Through this generosity, I contributed to multiple other organizations such as RefugeeOne, Born This Way Foundation, Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance (MIRA), Sarah’s Circle, and Margaret’s Village.

During this time, I also volunteered as a crochet instructor at the Bridge Teen Center in Orland Park.

This fall, I added a new part of the project — writing, illustrating, and self-publishing two children’s books (“Rosie Rabbit and the Magical Yarn” and “Tony Turtle’s Fabric Adventure”). They are available through online retailers and also will be on sale at Morgan Park Academy’s book fair this month.

Through my books I hope to inspire children to crochet, knit and sew, so they can experience the many benefits of these activities. All of the proceeds made will go towards Sophia’s Mindful Stitches.

My journey with this project has been deeply rewarding, transforming my love for crochet and knitting into support for those overcoming trauma. Publishing children’s books is my latest effort to inspire young minds. This work has affirmed my belief in the healing power of creative arts, offering a hopeful alternative to the digital world.

By Sophia Hasan

Sophia is a junior at Morgan Park Academy.