A few weeks ago, my daughter and I were taking a stroll through Frisco Commons Park when we stumbled upon a crocheted kitten hiding beneath a slide. My daughter is six, so the sight of this stuffed animal nearly brought her to tears.
Little did I know, the story behind it would bring me to the same.
Our newfound treasure was courtesy of The Frisco Dollmaker herself, Janie Monares. Janie has been crocheting since she was eight years old and considers her talent to be a hobby rather than a business, only selling her dolls if she receives a custom request, all others she donates to children within the Frisco community.
The inspiration to start a monthly doll hunt in Frisco parks is an extension of Janie’s deep desire to give back to a community she loves. A few months ago, Janie’s teenage daughter went missing, and during that time she says the city of Frisco pulled together to help find her, offering an unparalleled amount of love and support.
Following her daughter’s safe return, she wanted to find a way to return the favor, and after watching people hide painted rocks for others to find, she knew her dolls — such has her favorite llamas — would find the perfect home in the arms of a surprised child.
One Saturday a month, you’ll find Janie and her daughter hiding new creations in a designated Frisco park. They’ve done three hunts so far, and although COVID-19 has paused their plans momentarily, they plan to return to their mission once the pandemic passes.
As I watched my daughter’s eyes light up over this intricately sewn stuffed animal, I thought about how such a small act—crocheting for children instead of profit—is so incredibly selfless. Janie says, she’s simply paying it forward.
My mom taught me how to crochet when I was eight years old. She passed away three years ago. I feel like a piece of my mom is within everything I make. My mom loved children and was a preschool teacher. She loved making children happy, as do I. With every crocheted doll I make, I think of my mom and how she would’ve loved to participate in what I am doing.
Child-like joy is contagious. So is kindness. In a time of such division and darkness, Janie’s not just hiding dolls, she’s distributing hope.