Still Sewing New Stories: A Look Back at our First Stitches

July 20, 2015

At Rethreaded, we use the phrase "sewing a new story" often. It's in our mission statement, it's on our signs, and in our emails. But what does it really mean, to "sew a new story?" And are stories even that important? After four years of hearing women share about how they've been affected by the sex trade, we believe more than ever in the power of a story. 
"When I was in jail looking at a life sentence for defending myself against my trafficker, I heard about Rethreaded.  It gave me hope that I could be accepted and I just knew I’d work there one day. Working here has exceeded my expectations and now I get to be part of helping other women."
- Alyssa, age 20
"No one talks about life after surviving sex trafficking. I came out of jail and got a little ground under my feet in my recovery but couldn’t find viable employment.  I had no way to explain my prostitution charges, lack of  recent employment history and bad teeth.  Rethreaded gave me a chance to thrive and everyday here is an opportunity to grow."
- Jamie, age 27
"I heard about Rethreaded during my first attempt at recovery.  I didn’t make it that time but even when I look back on the street I remembered Rethreaded.  It gave me Hope and I came back and re-entered rehab. Rethreaded gave me a chance to know my worth. After being here for over a year,  I now confidently share my story with every chance I get." 
- Michelle, age 50
Four years ago, when Rethreaded wasn't much more than a bold idea and a T-shirt bag, we had no idea such incredible stories of transformation would be our result. Founder Kristin Keen began by forming relationships with women on the street and making prison visits. She knew the biggest need was for a safe, supportive work environment where women could earn money while learning a skill and experiencing continued healing through community. Working in partnership with the City Rescue Mission, Rethreaded hired its first full-time employee in November 2012. To date, we have been able to hire 15 women at Rethreaded, offering them a chance to discover their dignity through supportive community and life-giving work.  We are so proud of every single woman who has walked through our doors and courageously shared her story. Every time that happens, we celebrate another victory in our fight against the sex trade. We are so grateful to them for showing us how a simple story can have the power to uproot an entire industry. 

We also want to thank you. These past four years have been incredible - full of the joys of watching our employees sew their first stitches, helping them develop their skills and learn new ones, and coming together each day around the table to light our candle in remembrance of the women still out there. We have also experienced setbacks and heartbreaks, and some days are harder than we ever imagined. But we have found the most incredible support from you, our family, friends, and Jacksonville community. We could not have come this far without the generosity of your time, donations, and prayers. As we move forward into the next phase of our company, we want to take time to celebrate with you at our 4th Birthday Celebration on August 8th. You have been an integral part of where we've been, and we can't wait to see how you'll help us move forward. Hope to see you there! 
If you're wanting specific ways to continue your involvement in helping us sew new stories, be on the lookout for our emails over the next few weeks with information about our birthday list and how you can be a part of this celebration. 

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