Mindful Works is a nonprofit, mission-driven social enterprise focused on providing steady employment and restoring dignity and hope to those in recovery from mental health challenges. Our business is the design and production of high quality, locally crafted products. The benefits of work and employment are proven to be a crucial component of recovery.
Windhorse Guild, Inc, a nonprofit, was established in 2000 when a young woman, a client of Windhorse Community Services, wrote a letter to her psychiatrist eloquently stating, "Now I am experiencing this beautiful idea (recovery). Yet, something was missing. How would I ever get from bring a Windhorse client to an active member in society with a ob? I came up with the ida of creating a nonprofit piece to Windhorse, the Windhorse Guild, would would offer a transitional work program for the clients that felt like me. They were feeling better, but how cold they make this leap back into the world." After a few starts and stops, the Guild in 2014 rediscovered its Mission: Provide opportunities and resources for people with mental illness to gain skills and ability to get back to work, as well as to provide actual jobs and training through an affirmative business. And so was launched Infinitly Simple, a double-bottom line social enterprise.
Employment. Community. Confidence.
Authored by Emily Ashley, an employee of Mindful Works
It's a simple tagline that says so much. Every movement of the pedal, every adjustment of the hand means something. To me, it means an opportunity to work within the scope of my mental health challenges. The work offers a chance to realize my own potential, meaning I would not have found my potential without employment. Enter Mindful Works.
Mindful Work's mission is "to provide job-driven training and real employment opportunities to those in recovery from mental health challenges in the design and production of high quality locally crafted products". We are provided with the opportunity to create a variety of pillows and poufs, and sometimes a cushion or skirt come across our sewing tables. A visit to our website, www.mindful-works.org will give you a glance at our products and into the beauty of our recovery.
Walking into the Shoppe, one can hear the clatter of sewing machines. Mingled among them are the voices of employees. There is a feel of camaraderie among them. We help each other along offering advice and support. We know being able to handle constructive criticism is essential to doing an excellent job, but for those of us with mental health challenges, it does not always come easy. MIndful Works welcomes the curve that comes with learning. Our director floats among us, helping us teach each other, and offers her advice. She plays to our strengths. Some of us cut patterns. The next step, serging, requires a different skill set and is generally the second step in the ladder. Others of us not quite as skilled with our hands help maintain the website, and others are most competent with computer work. My skill set is better when I am writing or working on the computer. I have a tremor that makes it hard to cut straight or manipulate my hands well. That wasn't so much the case when I started, and I started like everyone else cutting patterns. When there was a change in my health, Mindful Works went along with it and tried to make adaptations. I was then assigned to a serger, which is still one of my favorite parts of the job, though I don't do it much. I must admit, I don't do that awesome of a job.
In addition to working to our strengths, Mindful Works takes pride in the quality of the products we produce. From the poofs to the zabutons, they are inspected at every step. After a check from either Sue or one of our Master Seamstresses, the work continues. The guidance not only offers an opportunity to catch a mistake before it gets too complicated but also offers a learning opportunity. We are asked what we think the mistake is and whether we catch it or it's pointed out to us, we have learned what to do next time. Each day offers us another learning opportunity, a chance to make a difference, and a chance to grow in our recovery. "Every Stitch a Purpose" is not just one of our mottos, but rather has a purpose, a way of being."
"Mindful Works has been providing job opportunities and training for people recovering from mental health challenges in the Boulder area for over two years. It offers an upbeat, kind atmosphere where people can come to escape the isolation of mental illness and find purpose in their daily lives. Amidst the challenges of building a non-profit, Mindful Works continues to build partnerships with transitional work programs, artisan markets, and mental health organizations to spread the word about their mission and raise awareness about the necessity of these kinds of mental health opportunities. Despite growing awareness about mental illness, there is still a stigma that prevents people from knowing, seeing, and embracing those individuals who struggle with mental illness in their own communities. Mindful Works has a workshop right in downtown Boulder, and they invite customers and potential partners to tour the shop and meet the "Apprentices". Supervisors teach Apprentices soft job skills that will translate into future employment opportunities, and work with each Apprentice to identify mental blocks and accommodations they can continue to work with in their lives with compassion and mindfulness. Longer-term Apprentices are placed in positions to train newer Apprentices to use the sewing equipment and develop their cutting/sewing skills as they participate in the production of poufs, meditation cushions, and yoga accessories. In my experience, the atmosphere of Mindful Works--cultivated by staff and Apprentice alike--is one of peer support, opportunity, mindfulness, and creativity. I would love to see Mindful Works thrive and expand the scope of the opportunities they provide."
"Coming to work at Mindful Works has given me a path."