PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — With each stitch of a needle, a local woman hopes to foster confidence and creativity in Peoria youth.

Carmen O’Conner Jackson helps to develop a sense of artistic expression through fashion through her sewing classes at Artists ReEnvisioning Tomorrow.

“I just really love fashion,” said Jackson. “I just want the trend to keep going and going and going and never stop. So, that’s why I chose to come down here and teach the children how to sew, and I love it.”

With more than two decades of experience, Jackson said she teaches the skill to boys and girls of all ages.

“They’ve never ever sewed before,” she said. “They’ve never used the needle and when I teach them, and they do something, they don’t want to stop. They are so excited. They want to take it home and show their parents.”

The younger ones start with yarn pieces and work their way up to hand sewing before sitting at the machines. She said it’s an important skill for kids to learn. It also doubles as artistic expression.

“Art is in sewing,” said Jackson. “Like, when you design on a piece of paper, you’re bringing your vision out. So, when they see their vision … you can put it on paper, or you can just put it in fabric.”

Jackson said ART Inc. is planning to add an adult sewing class soon.

Donations can be sent directly to ART Inc., by calling (309) 713-3744.

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