By LOIS KINDLE
In addition to building self-worth and self-confidence in girls of all ages, Girls of the World specializes in teaching important life skills that will serve them their entire lives. Its founder, Lea Manningham, is always looking for innovative ways to engage their interests and spur creativity.
Her latest project involves teaching 15 of 52 current Girls of the World how to sew and then having them use their newfound skill to make clothing for children in need.
“They will begin by making a purse/carry-all to [help] them [become] familiar with different kinds of material, [and learn] how to use a sewing machine, thread and change needles and use patterns and assorted stitches,” Manningham said. “Upon completion, the girls will keep these, and move on to learning how to make a sundress and short set.
“We plan to make this an ongoing project,” she said. “The clothing will go to kids in need at Beth-El Mission, the migrant community in Wimauma, and to Uganda, Africa.
The latter donation will be made through local businessman Nadere Johnson, who travels to Uganda on mission trips for his nonprofit organization Operation International Gift of Knowledge. His next journey there will be in October.
“My goal is to teach our girls these skills to use for the rest of their lives,” Manningham said. “And I hope that some of them may even be inspired to become clothing designers.”
Manningham said after she took sewing back in middle school years, she always wanted to become one. Even though life took her in a different direction, her interest in sewing never died.
“When the Covid pandemic hit and I was home all the time, I purchased a sewing machine,” she said. “I realized sewing is a skill the girls need to learn.”
When she pitched the idea for the project to them, they were excited and wanted be a part of it.
The budding seamstresses will be taught by unpaid volunteers. They will use 10 donated sewing machines and fabric.
Manningham will be buying additional material from the Nearly New Shop in Sun City Center.
The project starts in mid-June.
If you’d like to donate cash, sewing materials or fabric, call Manningham at 813-810-1396.
Summer camps, Bible study
Girls of the World will host its themed, weekly summer camps from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 12 through July 28. They will be based at the nonprofit group’s office, 300 Frandorson Circle, Apollo Beach. The $250 cost per week includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and lots of fun-filled activities like going swimming, to the movies or bowling, making hand soap, learning embroidery and decorating cookies. It also includes field trips to interesting places like the Florida Aquarium, Ringling Museum and Museum of Science and Industry.
The camps are open to all girls ages 5 to 12. The cap is six girls per week.
College-age members of Girls of the World on summer break will assist Manningham, the facilitator.
“Camp is all about having fun and team building,” Manningham said.
Starting June 14, Girls of the World will also host six weeks of free, nondenominational Bible study on Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. at 300 Frandorson Circle, Apollo Beach. The cap is 20 girls, ages 8 to young adults.
For information on Girls of the World summer camps or Bible study, call Manningham at 813-810-1396.