Project Description

St. Cyprian’s Sr. Susan Pugh and her quilting class

To the Hispanic women of Elva Horlings’ class, it is more than just a quilting class. To these women it is a night out, a social event, a place to discuss struggles, and a support group.

Horlings and a fellow volunteer, Marylyn Sholtis, decided to start a class teaching women how to sew. Both Horlings and Sholtis wanted to serve and give back to the community somehow. Through volunteering with an ESL class at St. Cyprians Outreach Center, Horlings heard that the Hispanic women she was working with wanted to learn to sew.

After starting the class, the two women decided they needed to find financial support and materials. They found this support through the Foundation and Sr. Susan Pugh, a Foundation Grantee and CMI Advisory Board member. They also relied on donations from members of the community who learned about the class.

“Because of the money we received from the Foundation, we were able to buy four new machines for the women to use in the classroom. Also, once we started talking to people about our class they started donating material and sewing machines for the women.” said Horlings.

The group meets once a week for two hours at St. Cyprians. For two hours, these women are free to talk about whatever they want with the group.

“They talk about their fears, problems and their family that is still in Mexico,” Horlings said. “They learn that they are not the only ones having personal problems. They bring their issues up in class because they may not be able to talk about it anywhere else.”

The class has supported more than healthy conversation. It has also empowered the women involved to be creative and innovative.

“Marylyn and I feel like we’ve given them a basis for when they go home to make some money with quilt-making,” Horlings said. “For some of them, the quilts were the first thing they packed up when they went home. The class has served as an inspiration for them to use their imagination and to work hard.”

“The skills they are learning builds their self-esteem, support and education,” Sr. Pugh said. “A lot has come from this class that no one originally anticipated.”

Horling and Sholtis’ class attended the 10th anniversary CMI conference to showcase the work they have been doing in front of the Bishop and 85 other people.

“They had never been anywhere like that before,” Horlings said. “The look on their faces as they shared their hard work with everyone was amazing.”