Friendship Pins, 2016-Style

In the 1980s — those pre-technology-time-sucking days — girls made friendship pins. All it took were some beads, a safety pin and — voila! Kids pinned them on their shoelaces, and traded them with each other.

Julie Gannon remembers those times. Recently — when people started wearing safety pins as a sign of solidarity in an unsure political environment — the Westport mom starting thinking it would be a great project to bring back.

But this time with a new, more powerful meaning.

Her project is not about politics. It’s about unity and solidarity — a community coming together to support people of different backgrounds, religions and whatnot.

She started making the 2016 version of friendship pins with her sons, ages 9 and 5. When friends — hers, or the boys’ — stopped by, Julie asked them to help too.

Taking a break from making pins.

Taking a break from making pins.

Now, Julie hopes, kids will see them. They’ll learn that the pins symbolize support and open-mindedness for all. She drives the message home with a note that says, “Friendship pins: Making friends no matter what our differences.” She’s also posted photos of them on Facebook.

Julie hopes others will make them too. They’re cheap, and fun to do. (She’s made a few for adult friends, with a crystal wrapped in wire attached to a gold-covered safety pin. Those are more expensive.)

“I know this isn’t the most diverse area,” she says. “But small gestures can lead to bigger thinking, when those children grow older.”

Plenty of pins to go around.

Plenty of pins to go around.

Right now, Julie’s sons are distributing the pins at school. If “06880” readers want any, she says she’s happy to make them, and put them in a basket on her porch for free pickup. Just email for details.

Tell her a friend sent you.


2 responses to “Friendship Pins, 2016-Style

  1. Beth Orlan Berkowitz

    Wow what a wonderful and easy fun thing to do!!! Great job incorporating the kids and their friends into this forward thinking hands on project.

  2. Sharon Paulsen

    I now (vaguely) remember the 1980’s beaded-pins thing that we teens dabbled in – very cool “revival” idea here, corresponding with the recent safety pin (public harassment issues) movement!

    Yes, sometimes it’s all about the little things (or little pins) that make a big difference.