Moms Transformed: From Homeless to Artisans
Shannon Stickney has faced enormous pain in her life, but the grief from her past is not obvious when she talks about sewing in the Transformed Shop. The shop is a retail extension of New Life Mission, a local non-profit aiming to help mothers experiencing homelessness establish independence through education, housing and employment.
“I think of the Transformed Shop as therapy. I literally get off of work, and I walk across the street and just go in there for 30 minutes at a time. You know, just to calm down. I absolutely love it,” said Stickney, a senior member at New Life and shop sewing instructor.
There is plenty to love about the Transformed Shop, where moms are learning to sew and design. It goes beyond the denim products being sold, which currently include patchwork tote bags, lanyards and fringe earrings.
It’s rewarding for store director and former New Life case manager Amy Lyon to see Transformed Shop come alive. She conceptualized the idea after taking notice that the women in the program were more prone to share their agony and journeys during the weekly sewing classes she had coordinated.
“Honestly, sometimes they don’t want to be there. Their shoulders are up, their foreheads are scrunched, but by the end of three hours, they’re relaxed and laughing,” Lyon shared.
The timing of the shop launch during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 might initially have appeared less than ideal. But momentum went into high gear as the sewing team produced face masks, followed by a huge corporate order for coasters and table runners.
Though there are business objectives and sales goals to meet, the heart of the Transformed Shop is never lost in the day-to-day responsibilities. Healing for the moms in the program, who have experienced trauma and abuse in their lives, is always at the center of it all.
“There is a sense of purpose in the work they are doing. They learn about themselves and some find a creative side they didn’t know they had,” Lyon said. “In addition to learning job skills, they have an opportunity to grow into leadership roles as they mentor new students coming into the program. This is rewarding for everyone.”
1230 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne
Open Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. and some Saturdays.
Saturday hours are posted on social media:
Products available for sale online and for local pickup. All proceeds benefit the New Life Mission Program.
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