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South Jordan Journal

Paradigm High students help create beds from bags

May 30, 2022 05:22PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Paradigm High sophomore Jacob Payne folded a plastic grocery bag in half twice before cutting the bag into 2-inch wide strips. He and his classmates were creating balls of plarn, plastic yarn, during their kedge, or homeroom advisory, time.

“We’re taking bags and turning them into plarn,” he said. “It’s simple and resourceful. The plarn is turned into recyclable mats for people who need them.”

Paradigm students were taking part in the Bags to Beds service project that was founded in 2017 by Kaitlin McLean, a University of Utah student who was concerned with the number of individuals who spent snowy, cold nights on the community’s streets. Community members can count their volunteer hours and number of completed mats on the service project’s website.

The students’ homeroom teacher, Emilee McCoy, said that she learned about Bags to Beds last November when the school held a month of service.  After trying it with her own family, which required her to relearn how to crochet, McCoy introduced it to her students.

They immediately took to bringing in donated plastic bags and making plarn for her to crochet to make a mat.

“We’ve easily used several hundred bags for the mat so far,” she said.

The sleeping mat sports colors of red, white, blue, yellow, green, tan and gray.

“We’ve used bags from Costa Vida, Smith’s, Walmart, Target, Harmons, Ream's, even some from my mom’s former shop she owned. It’s a cool way to teach recycling and helping someone who is homeless,” she said.

McCoy said that she was surprised at the weight and warmth of the sleeping mat.

“I sit and crochet and have it over my lap. It’s a lot heftier and warmer than I thought it would be. It’s been something that I can easily pick up and do anytime,” she said.

Sophomore Spencer Cox said he wanted to learn how to crochet so he could be able to give his teacher breaks.

“It looks kind of fun to do,” he said. “I’ve liked making plarn. It’s a good way to start the day, doing something that’s easy, but satisfying since it helps others.”