Vision Rehab, Making Mats in Fun 101

Vision Rehabilitation’s Fun 101 class meets every two weeks for an entertaining and interactive experience for Lighthouse’s blind and low-vision clients. Fun 101 provides a way to sharpen skills while playfully connecting with others. The class alternates between recreational activities, such as Yahtzee; trivia and yoga, and craft-making.

“As a therapist, you want to target what your clients need,” said Gail Gillian, M.A., and Lighthouse art therapist. “It keeps the windows open.”

One particular craft recently introduced to the group doubles as a community service project. Currently Fun 101 participants are collaborating on making mats for the homeless out of plastic bags.

While Lighthouse clients help create the “plarn,” the strips of plastic that become the weave, Gillian, and volunteer Cheryl Ward crochet them into 4 feet by 5 feet mats sized for the bottom of pop tents. The mats help protect the homeless from the ground and provide a natural repellant from bugs.

“Everyone is pleased to be a part of this worthy project,” said Gillian. She learned the technique with the help of Eric Mills, Lighthouse O&M specialist, whose mother taught him how to crochet.

The making of the mats is a labor-intensive process. Roughly 700 bags need to be cut and crocheted for every mat. Although the completion of their first mat is yards away, the Fun 101 class is committed to this innovative and charitable cause.