In high school, Kohl Crecelius learned to crochet so that he could have unique hats to wear while snowboarding. In college, Crecelius realized that mastering a simple, marketable skill like crochet could profoundly impact the globe’s poorest citizens.
Crecelius will recount how his a-ha moment spawned a global economic movement when he discusses “Sustainable Social Entrepreneurship: Creating a Cycle of Success” at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, on Wednesday, March 20.
This Speaker Series presentation will be held at 7:30 p.m. in 180 Jack Burke Research and Economic Development Center, 5101 Jordan Road. Admission is free and free parking will be available in the deck south of Burke, off Technology Drive.
The summer following his epiphany, Crecelius and three friends traveled to northern Uganda. They came bearing yarn, crochet hooks, and a simple plan: Empower women living in government camps by giving them both the skill to create yarn-work merchandise and a distribution channel to sell it.
The friends’ experiment has grown into Krochet Kids International, a nonprofit lifestyle brand that makes a sustainable impact on global poverty by simultaneously empowering displaced communities and engaging first-world customers. Its mantra: “Buy a Hat. Change a Life.”
KKI currently works with 100-plus women in Uganda and Peru. After crocheting a hat, scarf, iPad cover or other fashion accessory, the crafter signs a label and sews it into her creation. The items are sold online at krochetkids.org, or through retailers, including Nordstrom and Whole Foods. Customers are encouraged to read the online biography of the woman who made their merchandise to learn more about her life and how working with KKI impacts her family. Online messages of thanks to the women also are encouraged.
This Speaker Series event is made possible by Penn State Behrend’s Sam and Irene Black School of Business, the Student Activity Fee, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Harriet Behrend Ninow Memorial Lecture Series Fund. For additional information, contact the Office of Student Activities at 814-898-6171.