Article adapted from a Q&A with Debora Leite and Christina Mitine, Oracle Women’s Leadership Blog Writer
Every other month on a weekday afternoon in the lobby of the 300 building at Oracle HQ, you’ll find a group of employees moving their hooks to crochet colorful crafts of all kinds. Experienced crocheters teach beginners different stitches; others look on mesmerized by those who crochet at lightning speeds. Conversations that spark during the in-person gatherings carry on in the #us-crochet-group Slack channel, connecting a growing community of employees with a shared creative outlet.
How did this crochet circle get started, you ask? The story begins with employee Debora Leite.
“Growing up, I would go to my grandparents’ house after school, and my grandma was always crocheting or knitting,” recalled Debora, Oracle Senior Enablement Specialist (pictured right, middle). “When I was eight, I finally decided to learn how to crochet and haven’t stopped since. I have been teaching family and friends for 15 years now, and there’s nothing better than a handmade gift for special occasions.”
Debora brought her love of crochet with her when she moved from Oracle Brazil to Oracle HQ. She soon got involved with the Oracle Volunteering program, which supports employees to design and implement projects that advance education, protect the environment, and strengthen communities. While volunteering, Debora met Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) Community Leader Win Chang and shared her interest in teaching others how to crochet. By leveraging the Oracle Volunteering program and the OWL community, Debora and Win brought this idea to life.
“The Oracle Volunteering portal provided me with the tools to share my passion with others,” noted Debora. In 2019, Debora and Win launched the crochet project on the Oracle Volunteering portal, and began spreading the word among the OWL community. When it came time to decide which nonprofit to donate their handmade goods to, Debora landed on LifeMoves (pictured left). An Oracle Giving grantee since 2007, LifeMoves provides housing and resources to Bay Area families experiencing temporary homelessness. The organization makes sure that each new resident receives a colorful blanket crocheted by members of the community.
The first project brought together 45 Oracle Volunteers, who were first taught to create crochet squares, and then one-piece blankets, hats, and more.
“Envision being a young child and receiving a new blanket or hat crafted especially for you—that is very comforting,” Debora explained. Most recently, the crochet circle teamed up with a nonprofit called There With Care and donated crafts for families with children facing critical illnesses at local hospitals.
Since the first meeting, Debora found that employees participated in the project for many reasons—to learn a new skill, to meet people from different lines of business, or to grow their networks. Today, a community of 60 crocheters regularly gather at HQ, and the project recently expanded to the Oracle Santa Clara office. The crochet circle is now the common thread, connecting Oracle employees who might not have crossed paths otherwise, with each other and with their local communities.
Debora continues to gather the crochet circle through an Oracle Volunteering project because it brings a deeper sense of purpose to her beloved craft—knowing that the finished pieces will help people in need. She also encourages fellow Oracle employees to share their passions with others.
“My advice is to not stop after your first (or second, or third) ‘no.’ Always ask for help because you’ll be positively surprised by what people do to help turn your idea into reality!”
In the interest of everyone’s health and safety, all in-person Oracle Volunteering projects are temporarily suspended. The crochet circle continues to share their projects with one another via Zoom and Slack, in addition to sewing face masks for health care workers and donating items to LifeMoves during this extraordinary time.
To learn more about the impact Oracle Volunteers have around the world, visit oracle.com/volunteering.