gmhTODAY 10 gmhToday Sept Oct 2016 - Page 72

Proud To Be Me Sewing School Written & Photographed By Kimberly Ewertz G ilroy resident and owner of Proud To Be Me sewing school, Jo Anne Kerr, better known as Gigi, was surrounded by creativity as a youth. It’s the same kind of environment she provides her students today. Kerr grew up in the world of sewing. Her mother, Martha Adams, owned and operated a baby clothes manufacturing business, and her grandmother, Evelyn Nelson, sewed for missionaries at their local church. Kerr still remembers when she was only five years old and Evelyn would sit her down on top of a telephone book so that she could reach the pedal of the sewing machine. “I’ve always sewed. I like the creativity of it,” Kerr said. The loss of her mother six years ago was difficult for Kerr, but she’s comforted in knowing that her mother would be proud of her. “That’s why I am who I am, because that’s the kind of mom I had,” Kerr said. “My mom always made sure I had what I needed to make me successful, to make me do a good job.” 72 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN When Kerr heard people expressing an interest in learning how to sew, she decided to answer that need within her community by opening a sewing school. Nimble Thimble’s owner, Linda Williams, a friend of Kerr’s, offered the back room of her store as the location for the school. “She’s instrumental in me being where I am today,” Kerr said of Williams. “I couldn’t [have] done it without her.” Kerr anticipated a positive response, but she never expected it to come from kids. As it turned out they were the age group who rushed to sign up for her classes advertised on the Proud To Be Me Facebook page last August. Kerr added more classes to the schedule to meet the demand. The first sewing class was held on September 1, 2015. Nine months later, June of this year, Kerr had moved out of the Nimble Thimble and into a shop located in Gilroy’s Poppy Mall. “If it weren’t the right thing to be doing, it would not have unfolded the way it did. There’s no way that I could be so successful, and so happy, if God didn’t have his hand in it.” SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016