I am now volunteering at a project called Workshop Houston. Its located down in Houston's Third Ward - an area in transition from/to incredible poverty and incredible wealth.
I am working in the Style Shop once a week for a couple of hours helping middle schoolers with their sewing.
The one thing this group is not lacking is equipment. They have been donated five Bernina sewing machines, one Bernina serger and a lot of fabric. The have even been given some wonderful hand dyed fabrics that I would love to have!
The other thing I find interesting is that they are very well organized. Check out this shot of the book cases:
Everything has a place(surprise, surprise!) and everything is usually in its place.
I think I kind of shocked them when I started taking apart one of the sewing machines that was giving poor tension. There was one little bit of thread caught in the tension disks so it was an easy fix but when you see an old lady with her screwdrivers, tweezers, oil cans and other accoutrements attacking one of your precious sewing machines ...well, I think you can imagine what the staff thought!
If you are looking for a giving opportunity, the workshop could use some good quality thread and a new heavy duty iron. The iron needs to be pretty indestructable as it is used for standard pressing duties as well as heat setting silk screen projects.
The basc assignment is to use an old Kwik Sew sewing curriculum to teach these middle schoolers... no more than thre or four at a time... how to use a sewing machine and create simple sewing projects.
I, of course, cannot leave good enough alone so I have already suggested changes to make it more creative. After all, anyone can sew but few of us can create something original from sewing.
I'll update you as things progress but I must say that I am looking forward to my weekly visits as a way to re-engerize my own sewing.