I want to teach people how to sew. Specifically, I want to teach youth. My main focus with this project is to offer my services to those in the Queer and Houseless Youth Continuum (which have a large than average overlap due to social, educational, housing and job discrimination).
Knowing how to alter your own clothes is a vital skill for low-income and at-risk youth; being able to present yourself in a professional and or fashionable light is vital to acquiring employment and education. It's also huge for maintaining self-esteem. If you were ever a teenager, you know how important clothes are!
Low-income youth are often left at the mercy of charitable donations for clothing and food. Fortunately, Portland youth can get clothes for free at the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC). My project is to hold recurring classes that teach youth how to alter these donated clothes to fit them. I also want to teach them how to mend their clothes, and how to dress for interviews. Clothing is everything when it comes to presenting yourself to the world, and my classes would be hugely empowering. I'm also a great role model for how to be an awesome queer adult. (Hey kids, it gets better!) Body issues are so present for youth, especially those who are trying to figure out how to present themselves in a gender or size that is not mainstream. This hits home for me, and is something I feel very passionate about, because this is a struggle common and current in my community.
Right now, SMYRC has 2 donated sewing machines, which do not work properly. This grant would allow me to outfit SMYRC with supplies for a functional sewing studio that will serve them for years to come. I have already been approved by their steering committee (which is run exclusively by the youth attending programs at SMYRC) to come in twice per month to teach. I would love nothing more than to be able to show up with the necessary supplies. And please note, I am not paying myself for any of this.
Funded by Portland, OR (March 2014)