Adding to the fabric of the community through work

Leah Alexander is a crafty lady. And when she was looking for a new job last year, Alexander knew she wanted to find a place for her creativity to shine.

“I really like crafts and wanted something out in the community,” she said.

Leah Alexander & Julie Bossert at SewnWhen she was ready to move on from Goodwill, where she was sorting items for the stores, Alexander began working with a job coach from Goodwill, who also helped her build skills. Her job coach first thought of Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabric, but neither business was hiring at the time. Shortly after, they stumbled upon Sewn Studio in Oakley, a modern fabric store and sewing lounge.

“It was the first time I’d been approached about hiring someone with a disability, and I definitely wondered if it would work,” said owner Julie Bossert. “We brought her in for an interview, and she’s been great. Leah always has a positive attitude, and she is a great addition to our world.”

Alexander started in August 2015 and works about 10 hours a week putting together fabric bundles, organizing the store and labeling different items. “I love it,” she said. “I’m able to walk to work and there are people here to help me if I need it.”

As an added bonus, Alexander learned to sew and has made everything from pillows to patterned quilts.

“Leah has good attention to detail,” Bossert said. “She’s a good listener, funny and a great part of our team. We appreciate her being here and are lucky to have her.”

And for other job seekers who want to find something they love, Alexander has some advice: “Know what you want to do before looking for a job in the community.”

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