Community kids learn sewing skills can come in handy

Posted 12/9/08

The first Haven Program project, “B Cuz We Care” at Russell Gates Mercantile Building in Elbert hosted two dozen people, where parents and …

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Community kids learn sewing skills can come in handy

Posted

The first Haven Program project, “B Cuz We Care” at Russell Gates Mercantile Building in Elbert hosted two dozen people, where parents and children not only learned basic sewing skills, but also learned when and where those skills can come in handy.

Debbie Weber is the sponsor for the program and said it is geared toward teaching kids a life skill that can then be applied either in everyday life or in a profession.

The project began Dec. 6 by asking the kids what jobs require sewing skills to give them a sense of how sewing can be used in the real world. After a long list of jobs was established, a veteran serving in Iraq for eight years spoke to the group. Jim Bilnoski described to the kids how he used his knowledge of sewing in the military, by repairing tents and sleeping bags.

After being shown basic stitching skills using only a needle and thread, the kids also learned how to use a sewing machine, which Weber said particularly appealed to the boys in the group. The project also emphasized the importance of keeping trade skills in the United States.

“We talked about how it’s important to keep the skills in America,” Weber said. “One of the reasons I formed the Haven Program was to keep Americans educated in the trade skills.”

Weber said each project will end with some type of product that can be given back to the community. Through this project, 10 blankets and eight pillows were sewed entirely by the kids and will be donated to the men and women serving overseas, disadvantaged families and and those who have lost loved ones.

Weber also was excited about the number of parents who attended with their children. She said the parents were happy to exchange their sewing experience with the kids and other parents. She said some parents also were surprised by how many professions actually require sewing skills.

“Some of the parents thought sewing is something old ladies do,” Weber said. “They discovered that it is an art and can be a profession.”

After the holiday season, Weber hopes to have a skills project at least once a month or once every other month. Some of the upcoming projects will be a basic auto care session, a culinary session and a pottery session. Each project session will be provided by volunteers who are willing to share their expertise in a specific skill.

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