The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

December 19, 2012

Scarves for Strength are now on sale

Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — A Medina clothing store is now carrying a series of hand-knit scarves that serve a purpose beyond providing warmth on a cold day.

Scarves for Strength is a project that JoHanna Gratz of California undertook as a therapeutic stress reliever for anxiety she faced after years in an abusive relationship. Gratz began to crochet scarves, tucking them away before hearing about the concept of a “shawl ministry,” where prayer shawls are donated to those in need. 

In January, she set up a website for people to request a scarf for themselves or a loved one who had also been abused — and has sent more than 60 to women across the country with words of encouragement.

Ashlee’s Place owner Angela Waldriff read about Scarves for Strength in a national women’s magazine and contacted Gratz about bringing the scarves to her store.

The West Center Street store now has 10 of Gratz’s scarves, each uniquely designed and handmade. Waldriff said the proceeds for the scarves go back toward’s Gratz’s project and programs to help abuse victims.

Waldriff also reached out to the county’s Crime Victims Unit, a service of the Orleans County District Attorney’s Office that provides emotional, legal and informational support.

“It’s inspiring to see something positive for victims of abuse,” Crime Victims Services Coordinator Terrissa Drennan said Tuesday at Ashlee’s Place. “So much of what they face is negative. I hope this inspires (local victims of abuse).”