Curating handmade goods for survivors of exploitation


Handmaking blankets and collecting donations from students and teachers, Pathways has focused their latest project on helping human trafficking survivors get back on their feet.

Pathways collaborated with Everyone One Free—a Pomona-based community group that fights against human trafficking—to give away 50 blankets, five backpacks and a dozen socks through donations from teachers and students. While brainstorming ideas, the seniors initially focused on ways they could assist homeless communities or bring awareness to the social injustices affecting minorities. Eventually, Pathways teacher Kimberley Dalton suggested they make freedom bags, as she felt it was an overlooked issue.

“I feel we made an impact in providing comfort for victims rather than just the donations themselves,” sophomore Kyla Nikravan said via Instagram. “That impact is just as if not even more important.”

In order to make the blankets, Pathways assigned different members to complete certain tasks, such as cutting felt or cutting slits in the fabric. The project started roughly two weeks before winter break and students spent their last two classes of finals week making blankets. At the end of finals week, Dalton brought all the materials to Every One Free for them to turn into bags.

“The process of making was pretty repetitive but also fun!” sophomore Alivia Marinoff said via Instagram. “Our main objective was to take pieces of fabric and tie them together at the edges.”

One of the biggest contributors to the project was a school security guard who donated fleece and 12 blankets she’d made herself. Some Pathways members also purchased socks and stuffed animals to distribute to Every One Free. Although it was difficult to gather all the materials at first, Pathways credits the success of the project to the people who came together and donated to the cause.

“I feel these blankets make an impact on people who tend to be forgotten about or overlooked, especially during the holiday season,” Marinoff said. “It makes me feel good to know that I did something, even if it was as small as making blankets, I know that every bit counts.”