Local News

Gifted Hands Create Crafts, Boost Morale

Posted December 16, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— 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 never done anything artistic before joining "Gifted Hands." What they make is sold at area stores and craft fairs as gifts. But the women say the biggest 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. But that's not the case anymore. Allen soon found out she had something special: talent.

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

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

Trudy Lightborne has gifted hands. She was surprised to find out that someone 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 room last Christmas.

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

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

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

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