When the courtyard behind The Fiat House is raining arts and crafts, you know volunteer Kris Stenson is in the house. Kris is the mom, grandma and volunteer behind the Easter egg hunts, St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks, flower bouquets for moms and the reason many Saturdays find the courtyard filled with kids and moms smiling, laughing and connecting.
“About six years ago, my husband and I were volunteering at Andre House in Phoenix. As we were chopping vegetables and serving dinner, I asked one of the volunteers if she knew anywhere I could volunteer that involved children. She said, ‘I think there is a place called Maggie’s Place that focuses on kids.’ I called Maggie’s Place and told them that I would love to be involved with children that were older and that started the art events with alumnae moms and their kids.”
Her work doesn’t end with the kids. In addition to the Saturday arts and crafts, she’s been working with just the moms. “Being involved with Voice or 12 Step, or going into the homes of the moms and babies, I always lead some sort of creative time for the women, the art focusing on what we are learning that evening.”
And there are times she can’t help but be touched by those she serves. “Last Sunday I lead an art time with moms and kids living at The Mary House. There was a little girl about five years old that wasn’t so sure about participating with this stranger that just showed up. She was newly reunited with her mom and everything was new to her that day. But soon she was totally involved as we were making beautiful dippity-dye creations and slime. At one point she turned to me and screamed, ‘This is so fun, I love doing all of this!’ When she found out about the Saturday events that her mom will now be bringing her to, she was elated.”
Kris says she gets as much as she gives. She gives a lot. She buys all of the arts and crafts herself, as well as the gift cards for the moms that attend. She says she won’t turn down help with that. And she never turns away volunteers for Saturday crafts.
How does she spend her time away from Maggie’s Place? There’s her husband of 42 years, Gerry, and her two grown sons who live in London and Denver. And there’s always the love of Sophie and Nellie, the couple’s two dogs.
If you’d like to help on Craft Saturday, or donate to arts and crafts send us an email. Meeting Kris will be the highlight of your day.