Saturday, June 14, 2014

We're going to need some things

When we move, we're going to need some things to complete our new space. If you'd like to help out, it would be most practical to help us shop at the places that carry what we need. The answer is gift cards! We could really use gift cards to:
  • Ikea
  • Costco
  • Staples
  • Boost Mobile
Donations can be sent to PO Box 102077, Denver, CO 80250. If you need a tax receipt, you need to send your gift card with a donation form, which you can find at the bottom of this page.

We appreciate all the support we can get!


Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Little Something is on the move!

We're moving! This is a really big deal because it means we're growing and we've outgrown our current space.

We're moving about five miles east down Colfax to 1532 Galena Street, otherwise known as Mango House. We'll be in Suite 200, four small rooms that we hope to use to their fullest potential. We'll have a small retail display, more regular meetings with our members, a real crafting space, a real office space, and more.



The big move takes place on Sunday, June 22, and we need help. Many hands make light work. If you can help us move our beads, yarn, and shelves, please contact Uta at refugeecrafts@gmail.com. Seriously. Can you help?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Coffee! Crafts!

As part of Colorado Gives Day, we'll be selling our wares at Emily's Coffee, a refugee job training enterprise at Emily Griffith Technical College. If you're downtown, stop by and shop!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sales!

We'd just like to remind you that our sales calendar can be accessed through our website, www.refugeecrafts.org. In addition to our usual pre-holiday sales, we'll be hosting a clearance sale at our office.

A Little Something
Holiday Open House & Clearance Sale

Friday, December 13, 3-7 p.m.
Saturday, December 14, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

1547 Gaylord St., Denver

Stop by, say hello, meet members of our board and possibly some of our crafters. This will be a great opportunity to pick up some stocking stuffers and inexpensive gifts. We'll have a lot of inventory marked down and priced to sell! We hope to see you there (or at any of our other sales).


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Sunday, April 21, 2013

We need help with this scarf

A friend of ours has this fabulous, soft, lacy, vintage scarf that we love. Because we received a donation of gorgeous silk angora yarn from the kind folks at Knit Purl in Portland, we've been looking for some good projects like this. The scarf seems like a great match for our new yarn...except, we can't figure out how to make this design.

If you can explain it to us, or even better yet, if you know where we can find a tutorial or knitting pattern, please let us know! Our knitters are eager to get started. If you can help us, please send an email to beadwomen@gmail. com. Thanks!







Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's sales season once again!

Our sale and events calendar has been updated. Want to shop a little something? Come see us at one of these fair trade events! Click here to view our sale calendar, and click on any event to see more information.

If you can't make it to a sale, don't forget that we also sell our crafters' creations in our Etsy shop.

We hope to meet you soon!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We need help. A lot of help.

The Holiday Sale Season is Approaching!

We Need Your Help!

 
We here at A Little Something wait all year for autumn and the holiday season:  not only is it the time when we get together with friends and family, and show our gratitude...it's also when churches and other community organizations host alternative gift fairs that offer fair trade goods sold by organizations who, like A Little Something, work with people who may not be as fortunate.  A Little Something sells the great majority of our handcrafted jewelry and textiles in these holiday sales.  Most of the refugee artisans make more than 50% of their sales from October to December and WE NEED YOU to help! 

We split up sales into shifts, so you won't be working all day (unless you want to!).  We deeply appreciate any help you can offer, even if it's just a couple of hours!  We need help with set-up and tear-down, and then staffing the table and helping customers.  It's fun and it's how the women of A Little Something transform all their hard work creating earrings, necklaces, or scarves into earned income.  If you've never done a sale before, we'll show you how to do it, so don't be afraid to jump right in!

Below is the schedule of sales coming up.  Please consider giving back this fall and holiday season. Contact us at refugeecrafts@gmail.com, or call us at 720-295-5563.
Thank you so much!

CreativiTEA
Friday Oct 26, 9am-5pm, and Saturday 10/27, 9am-4pm
South Suburban Christian Church
7275 S Broadway, Littleton, CO 


Global Gift Fair
Saturday Nov 3, 9am-5pm, and Sunday Nov 4, 9am-4pm
Atonement Lutheran Church
6281 W Yale Ave, Lakewood, CO 


Christmas Tea & Bazaar
Tuesday, Nov 13, 4-7pm
Bear Valley Church
2707 S Lamar St, Denver, CO
 

World Gift Market
Friday Nov 16, 5-8pm; Sat Nov 17, 9am-4pm; and Sun Nov 18 9am-2pm
Universalist Church of Denver
9102 E Amhurst Ave, Unit E, Denver, CO


Shop for a Cause
Friday Nov 30, 4-7pm and Sat Dec 1, 10am-4pm
Highline Community Church

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

From our Summer 2012 Newsletter

Bead Woman Extraordinaire

Copyright 2012 A Little Something. All Rights Reserved.

Rehema Omary, a refugee from Burundi began making jewelry about two years ago when she joined A Little Something. She is now the highest earning member of A Little Something and is skilled at making art such as earrings, bracelets and necklaces.  She has a special eye for color combinations and bead selections, she says, “I think about a few colors and hold them up to compare.  I find what looks good.”

Rehema now has a job in housekeeping at a Denver hotel, however she still views A Little Something as her own business. She tries to send some of her A Little Something income back to family in Africa, to pay bills, and sometimes buys a small gift for her children. A Little Something functions as a facilitator and encourages women like Rehema to view their jewelry making as their own business endeavor, a concept that Rehema has embraced. She envisions her crafting becoming a big business with merchandise sold in big chain stores. 

Rehema has recently joined the A Little Something board as the first refugee board member and is looking forward to learning more about running a business and contributing to its development.  A Little Something offers Rehema added security in that if she were to lose her job, her jewelry making could sustain her. She remains enthusiastic about learning more styles and designs to expand the creativity and merchandising of her crafts. When talking about what she likes about A Little Something, Rehema says, “I like everything.  I like talking with women and working at the meeting.  I don’t speak much English.  If you talk and show me what to do, I can learn it well.” After building up her business skills, Rehema has great potential of using her skills to create her own jewelry making business someday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

We're busy!

Join us this evening for the picture.me.here. fundraising reception . This compelling project brings together ten Bhutanese refugee women in Denver with two professional photographers. The results are powerful images of everyday day life in Denver as interpreted through the lens of women experiencing resettlement in a new and unfamiliar place.

picture.me.here.
PlatteForum
1610 Little Raven St., Denver
7:00-10:00 p.m.
$25 suggested donation


Click here to purchase tickets online. If you prefer to pay at the door, please RSVP to beadwomen@gmail.com.

To learn more about this exciting event (and there is more to know!), visit our event website, read our article on the Denver Post's YourHub space, or check out the article on Westword's blog.

Can't make it this evening? The exhibit will remain in place and will be free of charge beginning tomorrow, Friday May 25 through June 1.

And on Saturday, May 26:

World Threads III
TACtile Textile Arts Center
1955 S. Quince St.
Denver, CO 80231

 World Threads celebrates and supports the traditions of fiber arts around the world. Exhibitors (whose goods are for sale) represent a variety of co-ops and micro-enterprise organizations preserving fiber arts globally. The event is free and open to the public.

This Saturday, May 26, at 12:00 noon, A Little Something's Karenni weavers from Burma will be on hand for a fiber arts demonstration and "vendor chat" to discuss what we do and why we do it. Please join us!

Click here for more information about this event and the TACtile Textile Arts Center.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Save the date!


Opening Reception Thursday, May 24

7:00 p.m.

Platte Forum

1610 Little Raven St., Suite 135, Denver, Colorado

Appetizers and beverages served

Ethnic dances and events

Tickets $25


Proceeds to benefit A Little Something,
The Denver Refugee Women's Crafts Initiative

 Click here for more information about this event.
To buy tickets, click here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

We're online!

Just in time for the holiday season, we've opened a shop on Etsy. Click here to take a look around. For the moment, the inventory is small, but it will grow as items are added.

If you're looking for stocking stuffers, browse our earrings, wrap, and stretch bracelets. All are affordably priced and one-of-a-kind creations.

Share a little sparkling happiness this holiday season and know your purchase supports a very worthwhile cause!

Add us to your browser favorites and check back often for updated inventory! http://www.etsy.com/shop/denverrefugeecrafts

Monday, October 10, 2011

It’s Winter Sale Time and We Need Your Help!

Our peak sales season is upon us, and we are very short-handed when it comes to staffing sales. without anyone to represent us at these events, we have no way to sell the items the women in our program make. We depend on volunteers to staff our booth and tell our story. Can you help? Have any friends who might be interested in helping??? If you're available and willing, please contact Kristen.Damron@lfsco.org soon!

Please let Kristen know:
· If you are available to help with any of the sales opportunities listee below
· Hours you are available (we can be flexible and assign shifts)
· Any special concerns/needs you may have
· Let me know if you are able to load sale stuff in your car

If you sign up for an event, Kristen will send you more details about the sale as the date draws near.

Volunteer Opportunities:

November 4 & 5: Shop for a Cause
Highline Community Church (6325 S. University Blvd. Centennial, CO 80121)
Friday 4-7PM: (We're desperate here)
Saturday 10:00 – 4:00 PM

November 12: Ye Olde Yuletide Bazaar
Town of Parker Field House (Dransfeldt & Plaza Drive)
Set up 7AM / Tear down starts at 4PM
Saturday: 7:00AM- 6:00 PM


November 15th: Bear Valley Church:
Sale hours: 4PM-7PM.
A Tuesday.  Set up at 3:00 – tear down by 8:00PM

November 19 & 20: Global Gift Fair
Set up starts 7:30AM (Saturday)/ Tear down starts 3PM (Sunday)
Saturday sale 7:30 – 2PM
Sunday sale 9:00 – 4:00PM

November 19 & 20: First Universalist Church of Denver
World Gift Market
Provides coffee/bagels and soup for lunch- Bring an empty water bottle to fill for H2O
Set up starts at 7:30(Saturday)/ tear down starts at 2PM (Sunday)
Saturday Sale: 7:30 AM- 4PM
Sunday Sale: 9AM -3:30PM

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Please join us on June 14, 15, and 16 for



Refugees in Focus
A film festival commemorating
World Refugee Day

Three days, seven films, ten million stories

All films will be shown at Emily Griffith Technical College in downtown Denver. The roster includes the new documentary, Welcome to Shelbyville, as well as six other films that explore refugee issues both in the U.S. and abroad.


Watch. Think. Discuss.


For the full listing of the films scheduled and more about this event plus other World Refugee Day activities in Denver, please click here .

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Women's programs build community, confidence

This post is from the blog for the Colorado Refugee ESL Program, an organization that partners with A Little Something.

Kristen Damron understands the Chinese proverb that "women hold up half the sky." She also knows that refugee women have a particularly challenging situation ahead of them when they are resettled in the United States. Kristen is the Women's Programs Coordinator for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) in Denver.

In her work, Kristen sees that refugee women are expected--by their families and by their communities--to keep up with their roles as homemakers, mothers, and wives while also facing the often incredibly difficult challenges that resettlement brings. Kristen stated that, "Women are a marginalized population, regardless of which community they're in. They have a number of disadvantages. Within the refugee population, they're the backbone to a household and are tasked with raising the kids, running the household, as well as getting a job. They are the key to the family's success in the U.S., even if the family doesn't realize that. The greater the woman's success, the greater the chances of her family's success."

Women are less likely to take time for themselves and to take care of their own needs, even though they would benefit from support during the resettlement process. In many cultures, men don't share in child care or housekeeping responsibilities, and this means that women's adjustment and familiarity with a new culture may lag. Within the Colorado Refugee Network, the in-home ESL tutoring program is one program that strives to address some of the issues of isolation and language deficiency that refugee women may face. This program, however, addresses the issues one woman at a time, but can't build a support system within each ethnic community.

LIRS offers several programs specifically to support and empower refugee women. According to Kristen Damron, "The programs are designed to be supportive, holistic, and empowering for the women. They're supportive in that women are often somewhat excluded from integration into American society because of language, education, social barriers, and family responsibilities. Our programs give these women a way to come together and support each other. The programs include financial literacy, WorkStyles for women (a job readiness course), community support groups, a microenterprise program that also partners with A Little Something (the Denver Refugee Women's Crafts Initiative), and most recently, a health awareness and education program.



In the financial literacy program, a partnership with Emily Griffith Opportunity School, the group talks about the basics of household finances and money (in general) in the United States. The women's care groups bring together women from the same ethnic community for gatherings at the apartment complexes where the women live. They learn about their rights and responsibilities in the United States, they discuss topics related to domestic violence and personal safety, and they work on life skills, but also build supportive relationships with each other over the course of the sessions. To see a group in action, take a look at the video posted here.

Currently, the Women's Care Groups are in need of volunteers. Volunteers can provide transportation for the women who live at sites other than where the gatherings take place. Volunteers are also needed to work with the community leaders in helping to lead their groups. Two volunteers work with each group. Right now there are four groups, but Kristen hopes to expand that to at least eight in order to accommodate more participants.

Later this spring, Kristen will launch the first Women's Health Walk and Fair in Cheesman Park in Denver on Saturday, May 14. According to Kristen, "We wanted to create a special event to commemorate National Women's Health Week. We wanted our event to to be special and to celebrate these women, their health, and their importance in their families, and we wanted to do that in a way that would bring the rest of the community--what we call the "receiving community" together with these newcomers. We also wanted to create a way to help these women see that they're values and their health and their bodies are valued. We also want the women themselves to be involved with and excited about the event and the concepts we're presenting.

The Women's Health Walk and Fair is free and will feature guest speakers, health education information, cultural offerings, nutrition information, and yoga in the park. Volunteers are needed to help with the event, especially those with a background in healthcare. Also, Kristen had hoped to provide event T-shirts for the participants, but there is no funding for that. A donation of event T-shirts would be gratefully accepted!

If you would like to volunteer at this event or with a Women's Care Group, please contact Kristen Damron at kristen.damron@lfsco.org.

Kristen said that volunteering isn't the only way to help refugees have a better resettlement experience. "Really, the first thing people can do for refugees is to be friendly. Smile, have enough guts to start a conversation--even if you're waiting in line, go ahead and strike up a conversation--and don't be afraid to have a welcoming demeanor. Just starting that conversation will make someone very happy because you've acknowledged that they are here and they are included."

--SM

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Little Honor!

If you live in the Denver area and you've come to any of our sales, you may have met Amina Salat, one of our teen members and all-around helpers. Amina was recently honored with a "9 Kids Who Care" award from KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver, for her dedication to helping others through community service.

In addition to receiving her award at a luncheon and ceremony last weekend, Amina was also profiled on the news yesterday. Amina doesn't just spend time with A Little Something; she also volunteers at SAME Cafe in Denver, and is a leader in Growing Colorado Kids, a local urban farming initiative that shares its harvest with those in need. Amina is the daughter of Fatuma, one of our original members, who was profiled on this blog recently. In addition to her school and volunteer work, Amina is indispensable helping her mom at home.

Congratulations, Amina! This recognition is well-deserved, and we are very proud of you.

Click here to read the story on the 9News Website, or simply watch the video, below.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monthly gathering!

We have a monthly meeting coming up this Saturday. The lesson du jour will be: Earrings. This includes knowing the parts of an earring, turning a headpin, using the correct wire cutters, and creating a pleasing, market-worthy design.

If you are a crafty earring maker and you know your way around headpins, earwires, and the related jewelry-making tools, please join us. We can use help from skilled jewelry makers!

Monthly Members' Meeting
Saturday, March 19
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Emily Griffith Opportunity School
1250 Welton St. Room 118
Denver

If you'd like to join us, please contact Kristen Damron at kristen.damron@lfsco.org for further instructions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In pictures

Here are some glimpses of our most recent member gathering. We started with a getting-to-know-you activity that had an embedded English lesson in it. The women got some language practice, while also getting to know each other a little better.

This month, the creative focus was on learning colors--including what matches and what clashes. Katrina's excellent lesson also urged the women to consider the many types of patterns that can be made in a piece of jewelry when the creator changes the size of the beads or how they alternate. The women came away with a much clearer understanding of how to plan a design instead of making it up as they go along. A fun and successful day all around!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feeling crafty?

Our monthly meeting with our crafters is coming up this Saturday, February 19. If you'd like to help us do some jewelry making and merchandise tagging, please stop by!

Emily Griffith Opportunity School
1250 Welton St., Room 118
Denver

We're on the east side of the Colorado Convention Center. On Saturdays, you can only enter the building from the center back alley door across from the auto mechanics area. Proceed down the stairs and follow the noise.

Parking might be a challenge! The Colorado Garden & Home Show is going on across the street, and parking spaces will be at a premium. Take public transportation if you can!



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Crafty travels

Here at A Little Something, we love the idea of providing a venue for our members to continue making their traditional crafts. Around the world, artisans are becoming teachers in order to foster an appreciation for their work and raise awareness of the traditional processes that are part of making beautiful, handcrafted items.

Salon.com is currently hosting a slide show of 14 intriguing vacations you can take to spend time and learn from crafters around the world. Take a look and imagine yourself learning an age-old art on a creative vacation. If you have no travel plans, at least take a moment to appreciate the time, skill, and heritage that go into these culturally-significant crafts.


Weaving in Guatemala. Photo: TRAMA on Salon.com

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wishing things were different

A Little Something is changing, evolving. Members have come and gone, founders have moved on, new faces appear at each monthly meeting.

The meetings are too chaotic to allow us the opportunity to sit and talk with the new members, so we’ve reached a point where we know the names of most of the women, but we don’t much about them other than country of origin. This is much different from the early days when we knew important and often intimate details about each member’s situation. Perhaps it’s just a reality of growth and open-call meetings.

Some of our original members came to yesterday’s meeting. Sharifo, Fadumo, and Sahara showed up after missing many months of contact with us. Fatuma came, too, but chose to sit among newcomers rather than settle in with familiar faces.

I watched Fatuma with some sadness. I’ve written about her before on this blog. She has a large family but a mostly absentee husband who has all but abandoned his family in favor of a more carefree life. This has left Fatuma to struggle as essentially a single mother of eight, with another baby due in February. She doesn’t want to discuss the baby. It is doubtful the circumstances of her pregnancy were ever happy at any point.

Halfway through our gathering, I noticed that Fatuma was wearing athletic shoes that were obviously men’s shoes and easily three sizes too big. “Fatuma,” I said, “where are your shoes? These shoes are too big and you might fall.”

Fatuma laughed nervously and said these were her son’s shoes and the only ones she had right now. I hoped that the money she had just received for her recent jewelry sales would be put toward a decent pair of shoes for herself, but I know better. Fatuma never takes care of herself first. She spends her jewelry pay on her kids, on food, on necessities.

The family is struggling worse than ever, but Fatuma is not one to complain. I could see that she was clearly not her usual cheery self on Saturday, though. Her affect was somewhat flat, and she seemed preoccupied as she went through the motions of making beaded key chains. She didn’t want to chat. She seemed lost in her own thoughts.

At the end of the day, Fatuma helped us clean up, and when it was time to load up Jaime’s and my cars, Fatuma reached down and picked up two heavy, overly-stuffed canvas bags of supplies. I reminded her she shouldn’t be picking up anything so heavy. I thought about her pregnancy and the effort it must take to not only haul heavy bags up the stairs, but to do so in ill-fitting shoes. She insisted she was fine.

I had agreed to give Fatuma a ride home. I helped get her situated in the passenger seat and as I clicked her seat belt closed, I asked her what size shoes she wears. She said she couldn’t remember. Her feet looked cartoonish—oversized red and white basketball shoes poking out from beneath a traditional floral Somali wrap dress.

As we drove diagonally across Denver toward Fatuma’s house, she blurted out, “Sharon, I need help.” I know that Fatuma needs a world of help, and that for the most part, I’m not in a position to provide it. I asked Fatuma what was wrong.

“I need a washer. My washer broken. Finished. Sharon, I have eight kids, and in two months…” Her voice trailed off. She told me her children were washing their clothes by hand in the tub so they would be OK for school. Fatuma had faced a lot of challenges, but this one was beyond her ability to solve.

I know that her husband’s chronic absence and neglect mean the family never has enough money for food, no money for shoes, and definitely no money for a washer. Fatuma had struggled stoically through personal hurt, lack of support from her own community, the stress of trying to help her kids—especially when they got in trouble or faced insurmountable challenges at school—yet if you were to ask her how she was, how life was, she would always smile and say, “OK. Everybody’s good. We’re OK. Fatuma is not one to ever admit that things are not OK, nor is she ever likely to ask anyone to step in on her behalf. It’s the kind of thing you have to stumble upon in the course of a visit.

I was surprised that Fatuma had freely offered up the information that things weren’t going well at home. It was the lack of a washer and dryer that finally made her feel a sense of frustration and defeat that would have made anyone else crumple long ago that got her to come out and ask for help.

Fatuma went on to say that she can’t do anything. She wants to go to school, but she can’t because she has no access to daycare. I reminded her that despite this, she never misses the Saturday class she has attended four the past four years. She speaks English quite well for someone who hasn’t had the benefit of formal education. She always tries to speak English whenever possible instead of relying on her kids to translate everything. She looks for ways to learn and to help herself and her kids. She works multiple urban farming plots to provide healthy produce for her family from spring through fall. I reminded her that she’s a very good mom who is raising nice kids. She pays her bills, somehow. She is not on welfare. I told her that many people have trouble because they don’t try to help themselves, but she should feel good about trying to do everything she could to make her life better.

Fatuma was quiet for a minute. She looked at me and said, “Thank you. Today I’m tired.” Then, with great sincerity, she told me that she likes the way I drive—carefully and not too fast. I laughed at the turn of conversation topic and told her other drivers don’t like me very much for the exact reasons she thought I was a good driver.

As we pulled up in front of her house, Fatuma thanked me again. I promised to take her shoe shopping next week. I told her I’d think about how we could get her a good, sturdy, and reliable washer and dryer that will last a long time, but no promises that I had any answers.

I spent the night fretting over Fatuma’s situation. She has always tried so hard, she has a steady, can-do attitude, yet the universe seems determined to keep throwing obstacles in her path. There are issues of culture involved here, certainly, but there is also a large dose of life being unfair to someone who deserves a break. I can’t even imagine, given all that goes in Fatuma’s world, what a simple relief it must be to sit quietly among other women now and then, stringing beads into cheery combinations and not worrying (for an hour or so) about how she’s going to manage hospital bills or life without a desperately-needed washer and dryer.

—SM

(We are trying to help Fatuma get new appliances--something with a warranty, something that will last and stand up to the task at hand. If you are interested in contributing to this effort, click here.)