In 2004, WTB volunteers began meeting with refugees at the Center for New Americans. The goal was to create community with women new to the United States. Through songs, dancing, crafts, picture books, and laughter, several WTB women interacted weekly with up to 40 women from nations such as Congo, Sudan, Bhutan, and Burma.
Knowing that these refugees came to us with traditional skills, WTB applied for and received a grant to help the refugees polish those skills and sell their hand-made products. This evolved in 2010 into a new class, teaching machine sewing skills.
In eight-week sessions with one-on-one volunteers, eight refugee women learn to sew on identical Janome sewing machines. Some of our students are totally new to sewing. Others had experience in their home countries.
We meet on Thursdays during the school year, with four consecutive sessions.
In addition, we help the refugees market sewn or knitted items at stores and craft shows.
We are located at Bob School, 501 Park Street.
Although we do have some funds from the Presbytery of Cayuga/Syracuse to support this program, we are always grateful for donations of fabric, thread, notions, and machines. Our biggest need is for volunteers who can work one-on-one with our refugee students. We have a great time getting to know one another and playing with beautiful fabric!