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Love me. Don’t judge me. I was born to be awesome, not perfect.”  – Unknown

Something extraordinary is happening in Whitehall, New York where a class of 12 special needs kids and their remarkable teacher, Deb Aubin, have embraced CritterKin’s Not Perfect Hat Club and made it their own.

I first met Deb’s students when she invited me to visit her classroom via Skype. There we read, drew and discussed what it means to wear Not Perfect Hats. These are kids who live with the stigma of being “different” every day of their lives.  Our goal was to give them a place and the tools to explore how those differences make them special/awesome – to find and foster the unique gifts they have to share with the world.


To say that we’ve been astonished by the kids’ response would be an understatement. They took the concept of hosting a Not Perfect Hat Club Day fundraiser at their school and turned it into an entrepreneurial extravaganza!  With the help of their teachers and CritterKin they:

  • Created a simple template to make actual Not Perfect Hats;
  • Did the math required to figure out the cost of making the hats: fabric thread, needles, pins and decorative elements;
  • Learned how to use a sewing machine;
  • Sewed and decorated hats for themselves;
  • Began taking and filling orders for hats when friends, family, faculty and other students asked where they could get their own hats;
  • Set up a retail booth in the lobby of the school to sell their Not Perfect Hats;
  • Made a wooden, Not Perfect Hat Club tree to display the hats;
  • Created a Not Perfect Hat Club bulletin board;
  • Got permission to hold a Not Perfect Hat Club Day fundraiser for the entire school;
  • Planned activities, contests and a school-wide assembly for the Not Perfect Hat Club Day;
  • Created and posted flyers and posters to promote the day;
  • Wrote and began doing morning announcements about the event; and
  • Flipped the teacher-student equation by teaching other students and teachers (including me) how to make their own hats and hold Not Perfect Hat Club Days at their schools.


Collage - Making Hats2


Saying we are proud of Deb Aubin and her kids doesn’t begin to express the wonder we feel when we look at what they’ve accomplished.  Their story is inspiring, but it also validates a belief we share with Deb who likes to say, “Every child deserves a champion. Every child deserves someone who believes in him/her even when the odds are against him/her.”

You can read more about Deb Aubin’s awesome kids and their remarkable journey here:

To find out how  you and your students can become part of our global campaign to give each kid a place to hang a hat by launching your own Not Perfect Hat Club, visit:

Questions? Contact:

Jena Ball
Phone: (919) 454-9917

Copyright 2015 by Jena Ball. All Rights Reserved.