Cuerd@s Workshop at NHS Connections

Apr 18, 2024

With funding from a Fall 2023 grant, a workshop was held in February for students in the Connections program at Needham High School with Cuerd@s, an organization that provides embroidered clothing to support mental health. For the creator, the act of embroidery is soothing and creates a healthy environment for processing emotions and building community. For the wearer, the embroidery serves as a built-in de-escalation technique and reminds them that they are safe, loved, and valued. The workshop provided students the chance to embroider clothing to donate to a local mental health organization and to embroider a sweatshirt for themselves.

Connections is a therapeutic program developed to meet the needs of students with emotional disabilities. The workshop also provided an opportunity for all Connections students to meet at the same time to build community with others on similar paths in overcoming personal challenges.

Katherine McMahon, grant recipient and Connections program teacher, said “The event was incredible and I feel so fortunate our students had this opportunity … Meg Burke, … the founder of Cuerd@s, could not have been better … It was great to see her sharing her story with my own students and doing it with so much passion and insight. Thanks to the NEF grant, we had the opportunity for our students to learn and practice creating a tactile fidget on sweatshirts they could use to cope. When the activity was over students wanted to keep embroidering. They found both the activity and the process helpful and satisfying.” 

She noted that many students were wearing their embroidered sweatshirts the next day and that students were continuing to embroider using the kits purchased through the grant.