Imagine a world where everyone feels supported and understood. As we recognize National Mentoring Month, we celebrate our ability to use knitting as a conduit to connect with others.

Many people learn to knit from a person they also see as a mentor. People of all ages can benefit from the bonds formed while sharing fiber. The shared discipline enriches both their lives while providing the new lifelong skill of knitting.

For many years, Project Knitwell volunteers have taught youth with emotional and learning challenges to knit at the John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (RICA) as part of the Montgomery County Public Schools Be Well 365 initiative. RICA is a special education school for students with emotional disabilities, autism, specific learning disabilities, and other health impairments, serving Montgomery County and several other counties in the state of Maryland.

Our instructors provide knitting as a creative outlet while at the same time providing attention, support, and enrichment.

These students feel empowered by the time our instructors dedicate to helping them keep their hands and brains engaged in a new practice of knitting. describes: “Potential is equally distributed; opportunity is not. MENTOR aims to drive equity and close the mentoring gap through quality mentoring relationships for young people. We activate a diverse cross-sector movement that prioritizes relationships and fuels opportunity for young people everywhere they are — from schools to workplaces, and beyond.”

Fairfax County Public Schools recently highlighted Mentoring Month: “Imagine a world where young people feel empowered, encouraged, and understood. Mentors can make that world a reality by helping young people find and follow their passions, excel in school, and thrive wherever they are. Research has shown that young people with at least one trusted mentor are less likely to skip school, less likely to use illegal drugs or drink alcohol, and more prepared to enter college or the workforce. Yet one in three children lack a mentor. All it takes is one person to serve as a trusted adult to help change a young person’s path in life. Mentors provide attention, support, and enrichment, and help connect their mentees to resources that may help them on their journey in life.”

In 2012, Michelle Obama embraced the power of mentoring to engage disadvantaged youth. Project Kntiwell is inspired to use knitting to engage in these mentoring relationships. The organization Mentoring Complete talks about the types of mentoring relationships that exist.

While reading Obama’s new book, The Light We Carry, we were inspired by her nuanced conversation on knitting. She is singing our song! We recognize the power of knitting while mentoring new knitters every day.

Read our Executive Director’s Open Letter to Knitter, Michelle Obama.