The Rutherford Report—Former Teacher Crafts Gifts for Children

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“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

—Robert Fulghum
Former Teacher Crafts Gifts for Children

Dana Johnson has always enjoyed making things.

As a second grade teacher at Fontana Christian School, she and her students made log cabins out of milk containers and baby dolls out of socks. They designed t-shirts and did all the “silly, dumb, hokey stuff” that some mainstream teachers scoffed at.

“If you make it interesting and fun to learn, a child will learn and they will be excited about learning,” Dana said. “I loved my little kids, and we always did special things together.”

A serious spinal injury forced Dana into early retirement and continues to plague the 73-year-old’s health, but it hasn’t stopped her from knitting and crocheting scores of trinkets and clothing for underprivileged children in her community over the years.

Originally, she made embroidered baby blankets, baby doll accessories, and other items for the Spark of Love Toy Drive every Christmas, but she later began donating her hand-made wares to the Children’s Fund. She was introduced to the organization—which provides resources and services to thousands of abused and disadvantaged children in San Bernardino County every year—when representatives visited her senior living community to ask if residents would help hem blankets for children.

Confined to a chair for much of the day, Dana thoroughly enjoys crafting clothes for children and their dolls and making special items like tea sets complete with plastic bottles of juice, table cloths, napkins and animal crackers.

“I want the children to know that somebody cared about them enough to make something for them,” Dana said. “I know that every item I make has been made with love for a child.”

Dana has multiple projects in the works at any given time, and she takes her gear to her all-too frequent doctor visits so she can work on them while she waits to be seen.

When she’s in the hospital, which usually happens a couple of times a year, she carries her knitting and crocheting supplies with her to occupy her time.

“I keep telling them I’m a professional patient,” she said.

Dana buys a lot of her own supplies by stretching her Social Security check as far as it will go, and she also gets a lot of donated materials from friends and neighbors.

All year, she looks forward to Children’s Fund representatives coming to her apartment to collect her homemade knickknacks so they can be distributed to children at Christmastime.

“That’s my life; that’s a whole year of making things,” she said. “It’s full of love, and it gives you such a good feeling. They are going to a child that needs love, and that’s what keeps me going.”

Click here to learn more about the Children’s Fund.
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