April 20, 2021

Volunteer Appreciation Month: Meet Laura

Laura Paradis

Laura Paradis is a volunteer for our 'Sew We Work' program. Sew We Work provides weekly sewing classes for parents at our St. Paul sites. Volunteers help in leading classes and donating their time and supplies. 

Hi Laura! What does your role at PPL look like? What are some of your responsibilities? 

I am only a volunteer - a GRATEFUL volunteer. I'm so happy that I am able to share my skill and passion for sewing with PPL. Even though I have been sewing for 60+ years, I am still learning through and with my students!

What made you choose PPL?

I confess, I can't remember how I came to call PPL. I did, and I'm glad the spirit led us to work together. It has allowed me to share many skills with this organization.

What are you looking forward to while volunteering at PPL? 

My greatest desire is to work with people who are passionate to express themselves through sewing and/or working with fabric. I love working with people who want to learn without rules binding them. The way I teach is by sewing outside the boundaries of traditional sewing. I do teach skill and technique, but at the same time, I don't teach perfection. I'd rather inspire our students to use their creativity. With that in mind, I am always amazed at what students have accomplished in between classes. They are amazing!

What motivates you to volunteer?

Joy, just pure joy of what students will learn each day! I love teaching, especially when the students have an "aha" moment of learning a new skill. That way they can apply it to their sewing skills and their lives. I have come to know students personally and have built relationships. These students are strong individuals who have accomplished a lot in their lives and do not know their own strength. I want to keep telling them how awesome they are!

What has been a highlight for you while volunteering at PPL?

From the moment I proposed my idea to the team at PPL's New Foundations site, I felt welcomed. I knew PPL shared the same ethics and mission as me. I enjoy working with the students in teaching them to sew as a lifetime skill. I believe sewing allows them to learn encouragement and hope in their lives. In my mind, I can teach them so that they can feel empowered to do it themselves throughout their lifetime.