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Gifted Hands Create Crafts, Boost Morale

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Dianne Allen says she's learned more in the last year than in the last 40.
RALEIGH — A gift bag is an example of the types of things a group of women are crafting and selling. The amazing thing is that most of them had neverdone anything artistic before joining "Gifted Hands." What they make issold at area stores and craft fairs as gifts. But the women say thebiggest gift of all is the sense of pride they get from doing the work.

Dianne Allen admits she had low self-esteem before joining the class. Butthat's not the case anymore. Allen soon found out she had somethingspecial: talent.

"I never painted anything before in my life, but the ladies down hereencouraged me, you know. They kept saying I could do it."

Volunteer Susan Parrish says some of the people who have never donesomething artsy come to learn their work is really amazing.

Trudy Lightborne has gifted hands. She was surprised to find out thatsomeone would actually buy something she made.

People do buy it. The crafts earned about $9,000 dollars last year.The women earn 80% of the sale price of each item they make.

Lightborne earned $1,000 by working on a bedroom set for a child's roomlast Christmas.

That money went a long way. Most of the women have children, manyare on public assistance. The program is geared at making themself-sufficient.

Director Jeannette Hicks says the projects give the women a sense ofpride and boosts their self-esteem. Many of the women have a true sensethat they can provide for their families.

Items made by Gifted Hands are sold in about 10 local stores and at areafairs. You can spot them when you see the "Gifted Hands" tag which tellsyou about the program and has the name of the artist.

Right now, 21 women and two men are enrolled in the program, but the grouphopes to grow.

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