Win, Win With Izzy Dolls

Win, Win With Izzy Dolls

I have always believed that when we focus on the needs of others, our own problems seem smaller. In March I became aware of a wonderful project that everyone can be involved in where hundreds of people benefit internationally.

It all began when Master Corporal Mark Isfield was in Croatia on peace-keeping missions. He was so moved when he saw a doll on top of a pile of rubble that he took a picture of it. After showing the photo when he returned to Canada he showed the photo to his mother who designed and began crocheting what is now known as the "Izzy doll. Mark began distributing the dolls to children he encountered in disaster and war zones. The idea spread and other knitters and soldiers began following the Isfield example.

Mark was killed in a mine detonation in 1994 and his parents have subsequently died but the "Izzy Doll" project lives on.

Who wins from this simple idea:

1. The doll is knit or crocheted using a very simple pattern. Males, females and children can easily learn how to complete the 50 rows of 32 stitches. Learn a skill and invest your time in a worthy cause. Win/win.

2. It takes so little wool that you can use up left-overs from other projects or get several dolls out of a very inexpensive purchase. You can be involved just by donating wool for others to use. Clean out your closet, recycle or invest. A little goes a loooooong way. Win/win.

3. Once the squares are sewn and stuffed you can decorate them any way you want. Use your creativity to develop unique gifts. Win/win.

4. If you don't have supplies, the Medicine Hat Library will help you. They have the pattern and small bags each containing enough wool for one doll. You can pick these up without charge for your project. They also can connect you with wonderful enthusiasts who will help you get started. Marilyn Moser, for example, taught me how to make hair and eyes for my dolls. There is also a no-charge knitting club that meets every second Thursday evening at the library where you will find people who are willing to help you learn. New friends, new skills, good conversation. Win/win.

5. Sheila Drummond, who is in charge of non-fiction services at the library, stores completed dolls and then, during the Christmas season decorates an Izzy doll tree for the public to enjoy. Win/win.

6. In January 2015 Medicine Hat library shipped 417 dolls. Personnel involved with the armories paid the shipping costs. This allowed community members with different gifts to contribute to the project. Win/win.

7. The dolls are used instead of packing materials to protect medical supplies that are destined for countries in need. Save the environment. Win/win.

8. Soldiers and physicians receive and distribute the dolls to children who have suffered from trauma or poverty. The doll might be the only possession that the child has. Win/win.

9. There isn't a copyright or patent on the pattern so you can make dolls and send them through the library or through your own organization. Also, if you or someone you know is going to a third-world country or disaster area, you can easily make, pack or send the 5 inch dolls. What a practical way to reach out. Win/win.

10. There is a book, video and lots of internet websites with further information about the Izzy doll. Research and learn. Win/win.

It is better to give than receive so think of all those people who have already been blessed by being part of this wonderful project! You could be one of them. How will you contribute - with you time, talent, money or words of encouragement?

And now I would like to invite you to claim your Free Instant Access to a complimentary list of 10 Steps to Making Your Life an Adventure when you visit

From Dr. Linda Hancock, Registered Psychologist and Registered Social Worker

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