For Carmen Rodriguez, Diega Cordova, Emily Medina and Johanna Chavez serving as WorldCrafts artisans with Graffiti 2 Works in New York City’s South Bronx has made a lasting impact in their lives.
Both the WorldCrafts fair trade micro-enterprise and the Adult Learning Center, affiliated with the Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) program of National Woman’s Missionary Union, are coordinated by Kerri Johnson, the founding director of Graffiti 2 Works.
As the only certified CWJC site in both the city and state of New York, Graffiti 2 Works’ efforts include literacy, English as a second language, high school equivalency training and more. The ministry is part of Graffiti 2 Community Ministries which has had a presence in the Bronx since 2005.
Johnson and her husband, Josh — originally from Princeton, Virginia — were leading missions trips for college students to serve at Graffiti 2 at the same time God was dealing with them about their personal call to missions.
“Praying this all through we fell in love with the South Bronx. We fell in love with the people here and the ministry here and the staff here,” Johnson said.
She initially launched the WorldCrafts effort with very limited sewing skills and experience. As she was evaluating how the program needed to be revamped, she struck up a conversation at a neighborhood farmers market with Cordova, the mother of a student in Graffiti 2’s after school program who was a seamstress.
“Right from the start I knew God had sent me Diega. … It was just God’s perfect timing.”
Cordova, a native of Honduras, had been living in the United States for almost 30 years. As Kerri shared her vision for a WorldCrafts artisan group Cordova quickly agreed to join the effort.
Noting that she began sewing at age 16, Cordova was able to step in, streamline the sewing process and train new artisans. Teaching her new co-workers how to sew aprons, bags, purses, lanyards and other products to market and sell through WorldCrafts, Cordova said, “I was very happy that they came and we joined to work together. It’s a wonderful program not only for us, but for the community.”
How to pray
- Pray the Graffiti 2 Works ministry will bless everyone involved from those creating the goods to those who buy them.
- Pray the Johnsons will continue to shine God’s light in New York City’s South Bronx area. (TAB)