Wimauma, FL. On September 28th, the first graduates of Answered Prayers Project’s Sewn Together program will commemorate their accomplishments with a graduation ceremony from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Wimauma Opportunity Center at 5128 State Road 674 in Wimauma. At the graduation women will gather with teachers, family, and friends to celebrate and to display many of the different sewing projects they have learned during the course. Each woman will also receive a brand new sewing machine and a gift card for sewing supplies to catapult their business vision into reality.
The eight graduating women all came to Sewn Together carrying the weight of challenges and circumstances that left them with few employment opportunities, but still holding onto hope for a better future. The classes teach sewing skills, but the core of Sewn Together is community building. Every week after a 3-hour sewing lesson, students and teachers share a meal and discussions are facilitated around personal development and business development topics.
“One of the best parts of Sewn Together is watching the transformation of students as they gain confidence from learning a skill that seemed so intimidating at first. Women start the program with absolutely no sewing skills, and at first many are apprehensive, we hear ‘I can’t do this’ a lot. Then it turns into ‘look what I made!!!’. And they celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Those moments are priceless.” – Maureen Barnash, Answered Prayers Project Administrator.
Sewn Together is a 16-week workforce readiness program and social enterprise designed to help low-income women find community and emotional support while learning how to sew. Almost all of the women in the program are in a major life transition of some kind, they may be immigrants or refugees, they might be living in a shelter, they may be starting a new life after escaping an abusive relationship, or even coming out of jail. The seamstresses that graduate from the sewing classes can go to work for the Sewn Together social enterprise making pillows and wine bags which are sold to provide income for graduates and support the cost of classes. Additionally, they will have the training necessary to secure well-paying jobs in local industries that employ seamstresses such as cushion and awning production. Classes are offered at no cost to participants every 16 weeks in Wimauma and St. Petersburg.
Contact Elizabeth Bunbury, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Courtney Erickson, Program Manager, at email@example.com, or call 727-420-3240 for more information.