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Sew Hopeful: How sewing and quilting give Hope Center residents a sense of accomplishment

Margo Ward saw an empty room at the Hope Center in 2019 and knew it had to have a purpose.


“I got permission to start a sewing program -- knowing there was no money. I placed a request on Nextdoor to assist in getting the program up and running,” Ward, a Hope Center Board member, said. “Within two weeks, we had 30 sewing machines, a lot of fabric, and a sewing instructor who breathed life into what is now a thriving Sew Hopeful ministry. It is currently a part of the Art Therapy program at HCI and is very successful, and it did not cost us a penny to launch.”


Today, Sew Hopeful is a thriving education and ministry program where Hope Center residents learn to sew and quilt.

"Many times we hear the words, 'I don’t know how to sew,' at the start of the class,” Patty Hons, a Sew Hopeful instructor, said. “Later, we hear, 'I didn’t know I could sew', or 'I’m good at it!’"

Hons, Beth Gilbert, Amanda Keeton and Audrey Vanderwal teach residents basic sewing and quilting for two hours each week. After completing the initial course, residents can continue to learn more advanced skills or take other elective classes.


"It's always a joy to see many of them choose to stay in the program and try their hand at other projects," Hons said.


And when a resident, who has shown a passion for sewing and quilting, graduates from the Hope Center program, the Sew Hopeful team gives the graduate a sewing machine and supplies.


Margo Ward’s work didn’t stop with the launch of Sew Hopeful.


“My friend Kristi Mitchell asked if our ladies could sew a children’s product that she was having manufactured in China,” Ward said. “Kristi is a professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Butler University’s Lacy School of Business. She also asked if she could teach a group of ladies in the final phase of the HCI program, and it was a huge success. When residents leave the Hope Center, Grace House or any recovery home, including jail, prisons and homeless shelters, they go back to an environment that allowed their brokenness to thrive. We realized that there needs to be an employment and education portion for those who are ready to start a new chapter in their lives.”


That realization gave rise to the Launch Hope Foundation, which Ward and Mitchell started in 2019. Launch Hope helps women (and men) gain the skills and experience they need to start a career or to launch and grow their own businesses. One business that Launch Hope helped to plant, for example, is Kiki’s Collections, which sells apparel for babies and pets.


Sew Hopeful also has helped to shape other sewing ministries in Shelbyville and Greenfield.


Which shows, yet again, how God can take anything – even an empty room – and use it to bless others.


To support the Sew Hopeful ministry, please consider donating:

  • Freestanding or hanging shelf units to store recently donated bolts of fabric. Units should be 10 inches deep, 4 to 5 feet wide, and can be as tall as 5 or 6 feet.

  • Portable sewing machines (not in a cabinet) in working order with all parts included. There is no make or model preference.

For more information about Sew Hopeful, contact Patty Hons at phons@hopecenterindy.org


To donate funds to the Hope Center, including the Sew Hopeful ministry, go to www.hopecenterindy.org/give

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