Eighth-grader knits hats to raise money for Truckee Tahoe Reads

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Elizabeth Scott is a sophomore at Sugar Bowl Academy. She loves school, ski racing and reading. Elizabeth has been a voracious reader for as long as she can remember.

On the day she was interviewed for this article, it was a school snow day. So, she sat down and read an entire book.

For her, reading opens a door to new ideas, new stories and new worlds. She particularly likes science fiction and fantasy. 

Elizabeth has been sharing her love of reading with other kids since a young age. In middle school, she volunteered in kindergarten/1st grade classes, reading to the kids and helping them sound out the words on their own.

But when Elizabeth got into high school, the demands of her studies made it difficult to find time to volunteer. So, she came up with another way to make an impact on young readers. 

“A friend of mine gave me a loom and taught me how to knit. We went on a ski trip, and I knitted about 7 or 8 hats. I was having a great time knitting, but I got to the point where I had a lot of hats and wanted to do something good with them. So, I thought I’d donate the hats to charity,” says Elizabeth.

Another friend introduced Elizabeth to Etsy, the e-commerce website where people sell handcrafted items. Over a couple of hours, the two friends set up a page on Etsy for Elizabeth to sell her hats.

She also convinced two local merchants, the Soda Springs General Store and Gallery 5830’, to sell her hats. And, whenever she is at a ski race, Elizabeth sets up a table and sells hats to other competitors and their parents.

She donates all of the proceeds to Tahoe Truckee Reads — a local intervention program designed to ensure that all children in our community achieve reading proficiency by the third grade. 

Elizabeth has only been selling hats for less than a year, but she has already donated nearly $1,000 to Tahoe Truckee Reads. She says she doesn’t really have an overall goal for the amount of money she wants to raise or the number of hats she wants to knit. 

“I’m just going to keep doing it because I enjoy it and it’s a great way to give back to the community which I really love. Truckee is such a great place. I feel it’s great to help people learn to read so they can enjoy it like I do,” says Elizabeth.

Shelly Purdy is an Excellence in Education board member. Visit http://www.exined.org to learn more.