fINdings Women’s Project to create 1000 totes for Summit attendees
Published Jun 10, 2016 08:51 am
A guest post by Annette Ciketic, Executive Director and founder of fINdings Art Center, Inc.
“IMAGINE 1,000 people will be carrying our totes at the 25th anniversary of NCFL’s Families Learning Summit. Now imagine our totes will go home to every state in the United States!”
This is how the conversation began during a regular Wednesday gathering at the launch of the next fINdings Women’s Project. The Women’s Project was established as a next-step after the women had come to school with their children to learn English and earn their high school diplomas at the Meyler Adult and Family Learning Center in Torrance, California.
“OK, Teacher, we’ve learned English, but now we need more. We need jobs,” was the plea of many of the mothers.
At that time, the fINdings Art Center established the fINdings Women’s Project as a non-profit organization to provide women of diverse ethnic heritage the opportunity to design and produce art pieces. Participants began producing handmade clothing, toys, blankets, and bags for children’s hospitals, women’s shelters, schools, and nearby organizations.
The Women’s Project is designed to enable women to discover their creative capabilities and entrepreneurial skills while fostering a personal growth that will enrich their lives, contribute to their families, and benefit society. The project also provides training in English language communication, job preparation, and community leadership.
As a result of their involvement in Women’s Project, many of the participants are empowered to take on leadership roles in their children’s schools and neighborhood communities. The fINdings moms have become leaders, mentors, and entrepreneurs in this process. They share techniques and ideas, provide emotional support and a sense of community, and hold each other to high standards—all while building key workplace skills. What these women cherish most, however, is becoming friends and raising their children together in a positive, caring environment.
We were thrilled when NCFL President Sharon Darling, a longtime supporter of these women’s endeavors and our family literacy program, asked if we would be interested in celebrating our 25-year partnership by creating handmade totes for everyone attending the upcoming Families Learning Summit in Detroit this October 17-19, 2016.
The women were delighted to take on the challenge. Generous donors have provided surplus fabric and supplies to the women as a conscientious effort dedicated to upcycling and preserving valuable resource materials.
“Once upon a time, NCFL believed in us as we opened the Meyler Adult and Family Learning Center. It is now our turn to say THANK YOU to NCFL and Toyota. These bags are a symbol of our united gratitude for all we have become because of our achievements through families learning together.”
And the women’s valiant response to the request was: “Si Se Puede!~Yes We Can!”
Executive Director and founder of fINdings Art Center, Inc., Annette Ciketic, is an accomplished artist, teacher, and founder and former director of Meyler Adult and Family Learning Center. Currently, she is coordinator of the fINdings Women’s Project and Community Service Learning Adviser and adjunct professor at Marymount California University. “Engaging families and students and empowering women” is the heart of her work.