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‘A Whole New World Has Opened Up’

Erin Alexander lays a dozen pieces of jewelry across a table in the Sarah Center and carefully sets them up on display boards, one piece at a time. She stops and smiles when she gets to a stack of bracelets that her 9-year-old daughter made.

“She can really whip them out quickly,” Erin says proudly. “I love some of the whimsical designs she comes up with.”

Mother and daughter are both relatively new to jewelry-making, but it has already become a passion that enriches them in multiple ways – engaging their sense of creativity, empowering them to dream, and encouraging them to build a new life together.

Erin and a friend are now preparing to sell their hand-made jewelry at craft fairs, community events, and online through Facebook and Etsy.

“A whole new world has opened up,” Erin says with a smile.

Her previous world started to unravel a few years ago, when Erin and her ex-husband divorced and their older children moved out of the house. “Everybody left and I had to re-envision things,” she said.

Erin was working as a nurse but cut back her hours so she could spend more time with her youngest daughter, including home-schooling her. After the challenges of COVID, Erin began looking for an outlet for herself and found one for both of them: she signed up to take sewing classes at the Sarah Center, and the intimate setting allowed her to bring her daughter along.

While Erin participated in the 5-week #Stitched# course, her daughter sat at a nearby table and completed her schoolwork. Erin then took a beginner-level jewelry-making course at the Sarah Center, again with her daughter nearby. They continue to visit the Sarah Center so Erin can practice making jewelry and they can both revel in the sense of community with the staff and other students.

“The biggest thing is the motivation and support it has given me,” Erin says. “And it’s a great opportunity for my daughter to observe what I’m doing and learn what I’m learning. She’s walking through it all with me.”