On October 12, the library was visited by Joan Lloyd, who led a workshop on how to make earrings from scratch. Lloyd, a Yorktown native, is a retired teacher on a mission to conduct as many workshops as she can. But why earrings? It is not for the aesthetics, but rather for victims of domestic violence. Each month, she donates over 800 pairs of volunteer-created earrings to domestic abuse shelters. The workshops are held at a variety of locations, and the earrings are created by students, scouts, and public library-goers. Each participant also gets to keep a pair for every one donated.
Library Media Specialist Tracey Wong, who is new to Blind Brook this year, organized the workshop. As Wong put it, “I love bringing Joan into the library to work with the kids. Scholars learn to contribute and give back to their community while getting a chance to be creative…This project is a great way to incorporate authentic service learning.” Through workshops such as Lloyd’s and other initiatives, Wong is trying to combat the stereotype that a library is only for independent study and school assignments. With author workshops, PokemonGo scavenger hunts, and therapeutic coloring, Wong has expanded the library’s purview in a variety of areas, including creative pursuits. “The library is a great way to explore and discover things you don’t know or haven’t done before,” said Wong, “Most kids today do not make anything or work with their hands.”
At Lloyd’s workshop, no previous experience is necessary to make the earrings. Using small hand tools and beads, each student twists and turns wires around earring hooks to create earrings. And it is not just for girls: although some were reluctant at first, many boys participated and sat diligently learning how to create. According to Wong, the “boys were my experts this time. They were the patient ones showing other students how to do it from start to finish.”
Lloyd’s workshops, called “Bling’s The Thing,” produce almost 12,000 earrings for women’s shelters every year. According to the Putnam Daily Voice, Lloyd first started the earring workshops after a woman in Shrub Oak, NY suggested the idea. As Lloyd put it, “I didn’t know what would happen…a woman at Hart Library [in Shrub Oak] heard what I was doing and said ‘Why don’t you do a workshop?’ I started getting a lot of phone calls and emails.” And thus, Lloyd’s workshop was born.
Although domestic violence does not often make the news, it is a huge problem, with 11,000 women in the United States alone murdered in 11 years. In comparison, 6,488 troops died in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars during that same period. Our domestic violence crisis in the U.S. is yielding almost twice the casualties of war, yet war is what makes the news. October was National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and although the earrings help, more must be done to raise awareness for and help those affected by domestic violence. Lloyd’s work is helping many victims, but we all have a role in decreasing domestic violence. There are numerous organizations here in Westchester working to help those affected by domestic violence. Visit the websites of Samaritan House, Hope’s Door, or My Sister’s Place to learn what you can do to help.