Our small focused program seeks to do one thing well:
We ENERGIZE AND INSPIRE vulnerable people to escape from the cycle of poverty and achieve stable self-supporting lives
The program is free to qualified individuals 6 hours per day, 4 days per week for 50 weeks.
Who we serve
- All are low-income individuals; we focus mainly on women
- Many are trauma survivors, immigrants, and/or recently incarcerated
- >90% have a high school education or less
- >50% were homeless when entering the program
- Most are heads of household and/or have dependent children
- 30% are senior citizens
- >70% of ethnic minority groups
WHAT WE DO
Our sewing curriculum gives individuals a sense of accomplishment while learning marketable skills. Skills learned in sewing classes are transferable to other jobs and situations, making our students employable across the job market. Sewing allows caregivers to adapt their work schedules to accommodate family needs while continuing to help support themselves and their families.
In addition to sewing skills, we provide our clients with life skills such as computer literacy, GED preparation, on-site childcare, and many more. We have case workers who can help solve individual needs for IDs, driver’s licenses, access to benefits, and link to wrap-around services, including legal and rent assistance. Recently, we have expanded our program to include recovery housing for homeless women without children.
Our students learn to follow directions, take projects from beginning to end, design their own projects, and think and create independently. Clients also learn basic financial skills, and basic employment etiquette, such as on-time arrivals, calling when late, and scheduling time off with the supervisor’s approval.
In 2017 we added adult home health care and Community Health Worker certificates to our program. In 2022 we added Culinary Arts.
While at TenderLove, our client students receive: a safe shelter during the day, warm lunches, transportation, referrals to wrap-around services, and coordination with caseworkers.
Additionally, students can sell items they’ve made and earn money doing alterations, repairs, and other tasks.
All of these empower individuals to move from unemployable to employable. After the first year, we continue to work with our students to ensure they have all the tools they need to retain employment or start their own micro-business.
Over 60 people come through our doors each year; of these about 1/4 stay to complete the one-year program in Sewing and Fashion Design. Others complete specialized programs, such as financial literacy, parenting classes, and now, Community Health Worker certificates through a cooperative program with Central New Mexico University
- At least 97% of graduates are currently in stable housing
- At least 88% of graduates are now self-supporting- employed or in school
- 32% of the budget is supported by private foundations
As of 2018, we began providing certificates of completion in lieu of a single graduation ceremony, to adapt to the individual needs of our clients and help them begin our training programs on their time, rather than a rigid yearly one.