More than 100 shoppers recently attended Daybreak Designs’ end-of-summer sale at the Daybreak Shelter for homeless women in Santa Monica.

Daybreak Designs is a grassroots company run by women overcoming mental illness and homelessness who crochet, knit, quilt, paint, sculpt, write, make jewelry and do crafts to supplement their income.

Shoppers took advantage of Daybreak’s latest designs in handmade ties, jewelry, chiffon, masks, portraits, tie-dyed T-shirts and unique gifts along with home-baked chocolate chip cookies, meatball sandwiches, chicken wings and raffle prizes.

Daybreak’s cards, jewelry and other arts and crafts are on sale year-round at Tudor House, 1403 Second St., Santa Monica.

“These women [at Daybreak] are my sisters and my ongoing support group,” said portrait artist Pamela Bowlay-Williams, who came to the shelter in 1997.

She attended Santa Monica College, recently graduated from USC and has obtained her own independent housing.

The artists earn 70 percent of the proceeds from items sold and the balance goes back into the business to purchase supplies for new artists to get started as well as for marketing and advertising.

“The creativity relieves our depression and our worries,” says Leslie, who lost her design center and family and became homeless because of genetic mental illness.

She now teaches tie-dye workshops to other women at the shelter.

Daybreak Shelter provides up to nine months of structured group living for mentally ill homeless women through an individualized goal plan created by each resident with the support of the staff and on-site services.

Those services include money management, life skills classes, mental health treatment and housing search assistance.

“I was dropped off here in a taxi four years ago,” said Rene Buchanan, Daybreak’s arts activities coordinator. “I had no place else to go. Now to be working here and to be a part of the healing is a rewarding experience.”

Daybreak Shelter is one of ten OPCC (formerly Ocean Park Community Center) social welfare programs.

Information, (310) 450-0650 or www.opcc.net

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