TGIF My Lovelies!
I hope you all have had a fantastic week so far. In today’s post I get to share with you my two evenings spent with some phenomenal women at my FREE Sewing 101 Workshop in Belize. But before we get to the fun stuff, I want to take a minute to just thank ALL my family and friends for their support, encouragement and help in making those two incredible evenings possible. BUT, please allow me to digress as I single out a few people just so I can express my sincere appreciation to them. First and foremost, it certainly would not have been possible without my husband’s unwavering encouragement and support, he has never allowed me to take a back seat or to give up on any crazy idea I’ve shared with him without first exhausting all the possibilities. That is my most favorite thing about him. =) To my friends Kelly, and Anya for your encouragement and for being patient with me as I bounce ideas back and forth…I know that wasn’t easy. (haha!) I am especially grateful and appreciative to my old co-worker and friend Kendra, who took the time to make phone calls from Belize on my behalf and who connected the YWCA and I together, I am forever grateful for that. =)
I’d also ike to thank my SPONSORS: Michael Miller Fabrics, for sending such a beautiful collection of Red, White and Blue fabrics (used to made the mini totes), to Simplicity Creative Group for the fantastic array of pattern goodies sent for my attendees, and of course, to the YWCA BELIZE for being so welcoming and offering their facility and machines to me.
Prior to this trip, I had very little knowledge of the YWCA Belize, so I was pleasantly surprised to have learned that they do so more than I ever imagined with the sole purpose of empowering the Women and Youth of Belize for a better quality of life.
The YWCA is a national, non-governmental, non-profit, Christian organization committed to making opportunities available for the spiritual, intellectual and physical development of women and girls in Belize.
They have training programs that teach Hospitality, Sewing, Cosmetology, Administration, Entrepreneurship, Cake Decorating, Food Preparation & Preservation, Computer, and English as a Second Language and a Seniors program. There is also a DayCare Center and Pre-school on site. When Mrs. Sonia Lenares, (the General Secretary of the YWCA) gave us a tour of the compound I was incredibly impressed that they were currently offering so much programs for empowerment and wellbeing of the women and youth of Belize especially tailored for low income families.
Now that we’ve covered the back story, let’s jump right in to the first day! I was incredible grateful that the onsite sewing instructor Ms. Bertha (she’s super sweet!), agreed to stay for the duration of the workshop to help me with any issues the machines might potential have, considering half of them were terribly old. It was a relief however, to learn that the current sewing class was using BROTHER sewing machines! You know how I love my Brothers! We started with 12 machines, but sadly we encountered an array of technical difficulties (due the age of the machines) and ended up with only 7 working machines by the end of the night – thankfully I only had 9 students on the first evening. The workshop entailed creating a mini tote from beginning to end while learning about tools, techniques, tips and tricks along the way, and the ladies PLUS one gentleman were really great sports! They were patient and attentive and just super fun to work with. Here are some pictures of the first Day 1.
Never mind how funny my face looks here! haha! It was the only picture I had that showed me teaching live using the projector and my camera so the students could see exactly what I was doing while I was doing it.
Mr. Mai was such a great character, he wasted no time getting creative!
I was a little nervous about DAY 2, knowing I had 30 students set to come and only 7 working machines – BUT WE MADE IT WORK!!! Despite the power going out in the entire city TWICE within the same hour, and the outlets blowing on one side of the wall, the girls were fantastic troopers! They all managed to finished their totes in record time while helping each other along the way.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have been impacted by spending those two evenings with such a wonderful bunch of people – I reunited with old classmates and past co-workers and gained a bunch of new friends. I can’t adequately put into words just how inspired, proud, and how encouraged I am by them. I enjoyed their colorful personalities and listening to their stories and dreams of what they hope to start doing because they enjoy sewing. I left there completely inspired and grateful for having had the opportunity to teach and share what I know with them. The room was over flowing with phenomenal potential and I’m SEW excited (see what I did there? haha) to see some amazing creations coming from them soon! A few of them signed up to continue their sewing journey at the YWCA so I’m very happy about that. Unfortunately a lot of the very basic sewing tools are not available to them in Belize, but I hope to change that in the near future. For one to perform their job to the best of their ability, they need to be equipped with the proper tools right? haha 😉
I am very honored to have returned HOME and give a little bit of myself back to my community, and I hope to be able to do it again in 2016. Being able to tie the love of my country and my love of sewing together makes my heart smile! I can see myself going back, each year to do this and with God’s grace, I will. *insert cheesey grin here* haha
Okay, that’s it for today guys! Thank you for stopping by, there will be a couple more blog posts following this one highlighting some more of our family adventures in Belize, so stay tuned for those! =) Talk to you soon! xoxox