To Mentor, To Inspire, To Engage

Have you ever been in a position to mentor someone? In any aspect, such as work, schooling, quilting? Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to do just that, in a variety of settings and themes. I’d been asked to write an article on the development of a quilter in my sewing program at work. In my research I came across an archive of photographs of an 8 week quilting program that I taught to some Canada World Youth (CWY). This group was from various parts of Canada and Namibia.

Traditional Herero dress made with patchwork

The Namibians were drawn to the colour and patchwork of quilts they saw at my home. It reminded them of some of their traditional Herero dresses. One of the gifts brought from Namibia was a handmade doll wearing this dress. :)

At the time I was facilitating a sewing program through the day program where I worked and was given permission to use the sewing space and equipment to teach the CWY how to quilt in the evenings.

Canada World Youth was founded in 1971: CWY’s vision is that all young people will have access to the resources that they need to contribute to a better future and that they are empowered to make positive changes for themselves, their communities, and the world. Some of the girls had never seen an electric sewing machine, let alone used one. I enlisted my friend & fellow quilter Wanda to assist me in teaching sewing/quilting skills.

This was Community Living Place and was inclusive of participants to our day program. It was an awesome experience for all of us involved in this project.

Four of the CWY participants completed a quilted item and were thrilled with their experience






Agripine was one of the participants who had never seen an electric machine. She decided to tackle this double friendship star table topper. What a beautiful finish and a Smile So Bright!

<– All the CWY participants were invited to join in. Some gave it a go but decided it wasn’t their thing. Hey, not everyone is interested in sewing. :D

We had been given an older model sewing machine during this eight week quilting session. We had it cleaned and serviced.

We had decided to give it away and, through a draw, Pia won the machine. She was so thrilled that she began to cry. Pia told us her mother was a seamstress in her native South American country but didn’t have a machine to sew on in their new home in Toronto, Ontario. Pia was making plans to teach her mother quilting when she finished her stint with CWY.

I always come away from these experiences/interactions very inspired and look forward to the next opportunity to engage and be engaged.

Be inspired…be engaged…Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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