Student spotlight: Crocheting for a cause

Around the time she was 12 years old, Kaci Dozier began crocheting. Her aunts, who had been visiting at the time to help with the home while her father received knee
surgery, introduced her to their past-time of crocheting, citing their Jamaican roots.

Crocheting then became a hobby of hers for a while before she dropped it.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dozier began to experience depression, social anxiety and generalized anxiety at 17-years-old. She returned to crocheting when she went back to school, citing the hobby as her outlet for her mental health.

Today, Dozier is a junior studying interdisciplinary studies and psychology at Coastal Carolina University and is competing in the Miss Black and Gold pageant. Last week, Dozier began selling some of her crochet work in the Lib Jackson Student Union to fundraise for the pageant. Her work included anything from purses, scrunchies, bikini tops, hats to air pod and iPad cases.

Those competing in the pageant must create a platform and may do it through organizations they are already a part of. Dozier said she aims to donate to foundations that support Black and Brown youth who struggle with mental health like she did. She said she wants to use her influence to create more auxiliary programs.

Dozier’s platform, “Breaking Free,” is based on the art of crochet being an outlet for her.

“I’m just trying to get people to understand that, you know, you can overcome it,” Dozier said. “And it’s definitely been a journey for me, a journey I’m still on.”

She said she wants to encourage people to find an outlet for their mental health, even if it is not crocheting.

According to Dozier, what keeps her crocheting are the bad days. She said she struggles keeping still long enough to do certain things, and sometimes she develops harmful habits like skin picking. Crocheting, she said, helps her through those moments, as well as the possibilities of what she can make with yarn.

“A lot of people can’t do this,” Dozier said. “I think it’s an artform that’s dying.”

Dozier said right now crocheting for her is just a hobby. She said crocheting really becomes an art with larger projects like large stuffed animals, gowns and tapestries. However, large projects come along with large time commitment and require a variety of different stitches. Regardless, Dozier said she would like to do something like that in the future.

“This is what I want to share with the world with the world,” Dozier said. “I just want to share crochet and happiness.”

The Miss Black and Gold pageant, hosted by the Nu Phi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, will be hosted in the Wheelwright Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. Tickets are $7 for CCU students and $10 for the public.