If you’ve ever fixed something yourself you know the feeling of accomplishment it leaves you with. Sometimes it is a small repair, requiring a few squirts of super glue, and other times it is a large feat, requiring hours of careful disassembly and rebuilding. Sharing these skills with young people is an incredibly important part of ensuring that our vision of a reuse-based society continues to come to fruition.
This vision is a large part of why we reapplied for Hennepin County’s Green Partners grant funding this year. Our grant allows us the opportunity to work with high school students to talk about reuse and give hands on time to put what is learned into practice. While much of our grant is focused on time in the classroom, after our partnership with Roosevelt High School last spring, and seeing the student interest in mending, we wanted to expand what we could offer. Using the student-led free thrift store (featured last spring in the Star Tribune) as an anchor, we included a request for funds to offer an extracurricular time for learning mending skills. The school’s club time, which happens midday on Fridays so it is accessible to all students, offered the perfect time to implement this project.
On Friday, December 1, we launched Club Mend. The club will convene twice a month starting in January, and will run through the end of the school year. Our grant allowed us to hire an instructor - Kris - who has a background in costuming and loves to upcycle and modify garments. Kris will guide the students on topics such as learning machine repair basics, how to alter a shirt for a better fit, and more. In the kick off session, students shared what they were interested in learning, their experience with sewing and mending, and got some hands on practice by sewing fabric yo-yos, which may be familiar to people who have seen them as adornments or sewn together by the hundreds to create intricate quilts. We are excited to continue engaging students in building their mending skills in 2024!
Want to get involved? If this kind of thing excites you, we’d love to get you involved. We are seeking a few volunteers to help the instructor with setup, cleanup, and some basic sewing skills such as threading needles and tying knots. Bonus, you get to learn some mending skills! Learn more here.
L to R: Instructor Kris demonstrates for the students; a student's completed yo-yo;
RHS teacher Shannon Nordby proudly shows a recent repair made using
visible mending techniques learned in last spring's class.