‘Threads for Thought’ Drives Globally-Aware ALEC Students

By: Caroline Black

In an effort to continue a summer study abroad experience, Annalee Antoon began Threads for Thought, a class project that sells hand-woven textiles from Guatemala.

Antoon, senior university studies-leadership major from Beaumont, Texas, enrolled this fall in the ALEC 489 course, Global Justice Issues in Agriculture.

“This course requires students to evaluate a current global justice issue in agriculture,” Antoon said. “Once an issue is identified, students pair up and complete a service project to help the issue of their choice.”

Upon returning from Chajul, Guatemala, in June, Antoon said that she signed up for the course knowing it would open doors for her to further serve the community in which she studied.

“Seeing how poverty affected women this summer was eye opening,” Antoon said. “One thing that I learned that I could do to help these women is sell their hand-woven scarves and other textiles back in the states.”

Thus, Threads for Thought was born. By teaming up with a non-government organization located in Chajul, Antoon and her project partner, Amy Heartfield, have begun to sell hand-woven products to students and faculty at Texas A&M.

Limitless Horizons Ixil, the NGO, serves the people of Chajul by providing opportunities for indigenous youth, women and families to continue their education and improve their professional skills. The women in the town hand weave scarves, headbands and bracelets to sell for the NGO’s scholarship fund. Proceeds from selling these textiles go directly back to the LHI and the people of Chajul. Threads for Thought currently sells scarves, headbands and bracelets. The scarves are $20. Headbands are $20, and bracelets are $7.

Heartfield, a first year graduate student in agricultural leadership, education and communications, from Belton, Texas, completed a different study abroad program last summer.

“Although I did not attend the same program as Annalee, my experience studying abroad in Africa encouraged me to help an international cause to improve education,” Heartfield said.

Kesley Fraley, a senior university studies-leadership major, has also been helping Antoon and Heartfield sell their Threads for Thought products across campus.

“Through helping to sell these products, I feel like I’m giving back to the community that I gained so much from this summer,” Fraley said. “Every time we sell a scarf or headband, I feel like I’m helping share this town’s story with the world.”

Threads for Thought has already sent LHI over $500 for their scholarship program.

Antoon and Heartfield plan to wrap up their project for their ALEC 489 course by the Thanksgiving holiday. However, Antoon said she hopes to continue selling these products as long as the women in Chajul want to weave the scarves and headbands.

“The scarves and headbands are very colorful, and are even great gifts, not to mention they support a good cause,” Antoon said.

To learn about Threads for Thought, visit facebook.com/threadsforthought

You can buy a scarf or headband in AGLS 272.

Caroline Black is a graduate student in the ALEC Department.

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