How an Alumna’s Creativity Led to Passion
As a Youth, Family and Community Sciences (formerly known as Family Life and Youth Development) alumna, Hanna Kline looks back fondly on her time at North Carolina State University. It was her desire to attain more profound research-based knowledge of family life that led her to pursue a graduate degree in the YFCS program.
Kline finds great value in graduate school for all students. She notes that these higher education institutions offer valuable lessons that push kids to think critically and broaden their perspectives. Regarding her time at NC State, Kline writes, “The grad program at NC State, in particular, taught me to think outside of my privileged, white, middle-class bubble, especially because a lot of the work I did revolve around families with limited resources and barriers I’d not had to face in my own life.”
As a graduate student studying a rigorous curriculum, Kline still found time to work as a research assistant to Kimberly Allen and program coordinator for the majority of her time with YFCS. These rewarding opportunities provided Kline with insight into theoretical research-based knowledge in family life while teaching her practical application to the real world. She developed a deep admiration and inspiration for Allen as her mentor. “I was greatly influenced by Kim’s passion for both research and practical application,” Kline says. “I was inspired by her drive and also her heart for students.”
After graduating in December 2011, Kline worked as a certified coach and educator. She found great fulfillment as she facilitated parent groups and trained teachers on positive discipline. However, once the pandemic hit, life had begun to hurl challenges. The transition to online schooling and a house full of children 24 hours a day was quite demanding and stressful, as most parents likely agree with. Kline found ways to cope with these difficulties, “I was painting on the side, but I started leaning into it as a form of creative escape! I’ve always found being creative to be a good outlet during uncertain times.” It was this creativity that eventually led to her successful business flourishing today.
Kline had begun her business several years ago called Inclusive Pegs as a side operation that allowed her to be creative. It offers hand-painted peg doll keepsakes including diverse nativity sets, influential figures, and highly detailed custom pegs. Hannah commenced this journey upon searching through the internet for a non-white nativity set to no avail. She wanted to have an accurate depiction of Jesus the refugee, something that her children could have and treasure forever. So, she ordered some blank peg dolls and got to work painting their skin brown. Upon sharing her finished product on social media, Kline received astoundingly positive feedback. She received multiple requests to create more for sale. The message accompanied by these beautifully made peg doll sets touched the hearts of many. Kline pushes against the blue-eyed and blond-haired Jesus we all grew up with and utilizes her skill-set to create a more realistic and inclusive world.
Today, Kline has painted hundreds of nativity sets for people all over the world. The pandemic helped increase business as many began online shopping more frequently. Kline decided to put all her energy into her business and is now working full-time for Inclusive Pegs. While she is still open to returning as a coach/educator, Kline is currently very pleased with her business saying, “I am so thankful for the support I’ve received with Inclusive Pegs and grateful that I get to spend my days being creative.”