I’ve just returned from another visit to New Orleans. Each visit brings new connections and greater insight into existing connections. I visited the 3 schools where our machines are placed on this trip–each school is so different and the work that they’re doing with the machines is different as well.
Einstein Charter School, East New Orleans
Einstein Charter School, in East New Orleans, houses children K-8. The population of the school is 60% Vietnamese, 30% African American and 10% other races.Â When I visited, two of the machines were being used to alter children’s school uniforms. In addition to being used daily for this purpose, there is a quilt project in the works. Cindy Nyuen, who is a liason for the school, described the project as a way for children to express their feelings both Pre- and Post-Katrina on fabric. The kids will each have quilt squares where they’ll use little letters to write a statement about their feelings and what they’ve experienced. No names will be posted so it’ll be a safe way for kids to express their feelings as well as see that others may be feeling the same way. The project will get underway this summer.
O’Perry Walker High School, Orleans Parish
At O’Perry Walker High School in Orleans Parish, the population is largely African American. 10 of the machines which were donated by Bernina USA are in place at this vibrant school. Cheryl Lobdell, a guidance counselor at the school, showed me all of the costumes that have been made on our machines–beautiful African fabrics made into traditional African costumes for Black History Month. “They’re traditional with a twist because each of the kids could make a request if they wanted certain details on their costume”, Cheryl said. The costumes are stunning. In addition, she is planning to create sewing classes within the school for the students.
Lusher School, Uptown District
Lusher School in the Uptown district is an arts school with quite a diverse population. 10 Bernettes, donated by Bernina USA are in place here as well.Â Lusher has programs planned for the summer teaching students to sew for theatre as well as additional programs starting in the fall.
Martin Luther King Community Center, Kenner
I also visited the Martin Luther King Community Center in Kenner where our machines are being used to teach sewing classes to teens and seniors alike. The center is alive whenever you visit, with continuing ed classes, GED classes, and now, sewing classes!