Many of you have followed our journey since 2012 when Sew Loved began in a community center with just a few volunteers who met with the marginalized and underserved women in that inner-city neighborhood. We shared our love of sewing and quilting with them and discovered that as their self-esteem and accomplishments grew, positive and dramatic changes took place in their lives.
The program grew rapidly and by late 2014 Sew Loved had achieved 501©3 status and rented our own facility. We started a ‘learn to sew’ class for high school girls and opened it to the at-risk teen girls from the Crossing Education’s South Bend campus. Our hearts broke as these girls shared their stories of generational poverty, illiteracy, addiction, family dysfunction, and abandonment as well as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
Working with these young ladies soon convinced us they needed to receive job training to increase their chances for self-sufficiency after graduation. After all, how can we expect them to change the trajectory of their lives if we, as members of their community, don’t offer them a way out of their hopelessness?
Around this same time Sew Loved was asked by local partners and industry leaders to launch an industrial sewing training program. Manufacturers in Elkhart and Saint Joseph counties regularly turn away work because they can’t find skilled workers to fill their 1,000 – 2,000 open industrial sewing positions. We realized an industrial sewing training program was what we needed to pursue, but our facility was both too small and unsuitable for this type of program.
It has taken six months, but Sew Loved has moved into a new home as of March 2018 through a community partnership at Vested Interest. Vested Interest is an incubator space generously developed by the Ziker family with emphasis placed on providing economical space for small businesses geared toward education and job training. Check out the local news story with details and video about the Vested Interest incubator space at www.wndu.com/content/news/Ziker-family–459152863.html.
Sew Loved is joining forces with
- Vested Interest
- Sibley Center
- Goodwill Industries
- Crossing Education
- Work One
- City of South Bend
- St Joe County Bridges Out of Poverty
…and more local partners to develop and provide these programs including an industrial sewing training school, The Sewing Lab, alongside other job training opportunities. The school opening is planned for 4th quarter 2019.