Dawne Hoeg| Up and Comer Award Finalist
Stitch by stitch, Dawne Hoeg is weaving together a rich tapestry of what makes Buffalo a City of Good Neighbors. Observing that refugee women settling in Buffalo long for a sense of belonging and a meaningful way to help their families, Dawne created Stitch Buffalo, a place where women create stitched, embroidered or woven products that not only reflect their culture but earn them extra income.
Through this program, women are offered the opportunity to express their traditional textile skills or learn new ones in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Dawne identifies each person’s strengths and assists them in implementing those abilities, patiently teaching and aiming to turn any frustration into aspiration. The women are then able to sell the products on their own, at Stitch Buffalo’s colorful storefront on Niagara Street, at community-wide events or through other partners across the country.
Today, Stitch Buffalo has grown into a thriving community of women from all over the world. Conversations flow easily from room to room as refugee women, volunteers, interns, shoppers and other guests mingle and work together on various projects. Dawne has incorporated other components, such as low-cost workshops to allow anyone to learn textile skills from the refugee women.
Dawne has fostered a remarkable sense of community that starts from a place of diversity, connecting people from different age groups, economic and educational backgrounds. She creates a sense of belonging and self-sufficiency that not only benefits the women, but the greater Western New York community.