“April has shown great courage in her life! She has so many barriers and just keeps overcoming them with a smile. We hope to see her company, Wonderfulee Marlee, flourish!”
If you happen to walk past a typical Transitional Housing apartment you’re bound to hear the familiar sounds of children playing or crying, maybe even a TV that’s a bit too loud. But if you walk past April Daugherty’s door you’re likely to hear something else, the whirring sound of a sewing machine. April Daugherty discovered her love of sewing a little more than a year ago while living in temporary housing with the help of her church. Determined to make a skirt for her then two month old daughter Marlee, her assistant Pastor showed her how to use a sewing machine. “I literally sat there all day just trying to stitch a straight line” she says. Her patience and determination paid off, with Marlee now proudly wearing a new handmade skirt; the self-proclaimed artist knew she had found a new passion. However, that newfound joy was replaced with fear as she was forced to find another place to live, this time with a year-old daughter and pregnant with her second. “God was watching over me and my children, he answered my prayers when I got a call from The Salvation Army”. Now with safety and security, April has called The Salvation Army’s Transitional Housing program home since Spring. The stability has allowed April to continue her creative endeavors, sewing clothes mostly for Marlee and youngest daughter Michilee, but even some of the other moms have asked her to make clothes for their children. “The hardest part is getting the materials. I’ve been asking people to give me their old clothes so I can use those, and some donated clothes”. No doubt it has become a labor of love for Daugherty, who also suffers from schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, which in large part contributed to her homelessness. “I don’t let my illness keep me from being creative” she says. “The sound of the sewing machine is like meditation for me, it keeps me on an even keel”. Her passion for creating clothes and caring for her young daughters has opened some unexpected doors for April. She started working part time at JoAnn Fabrics which means discounts on materials and doing something you love, but April Daugherty has big ambitions. “I hope to have my own business which I’ve named “Wonderfulee Marlee”, inspired by Psalm 139:14, maybe start a Facebook Page and hopefully bring smiles to others by doing what I love. That’s my calling, and thanks to God and The Salvation Army, I’ll be able to achieve that someday very soon”.
We nominate April in the Courage category as determined by her case manager Katie Ramser. Katie says “April has so many barriers and just keeps meeting/overcoming them with a smile! She has a lot of inner strength and it's taken a lot of courage for her to get where she is and to keep moving forward on her dreams.”