University City

February 22, 2013

Dressing girls in Haiti, South Africa

Lyneth Sanderson has a zest for life.

Lyneth Sanderson has a zest for life.

At 73, she is living life to its fullest, exploring every opportunity.

Sanderson was born and raised in Costa Rica. In her 20s, she moved to New Jersey. She taught herself English by reading children’s books. To save money, Sanderson taught herself how to sew and made clothes for her four children.

Over time, she started helping others and turned her skills into a profession. She owned a boutique, and worked as a tailor and dressmaker. She even made wedding gowns.

After about 40 years in New Jersey, Sanderson moved to Charlotte to live with her daughter and her family.

Sanderson now has been living in north Charlotte for 11 years, in the Lexington neighborhood near Mallard Creek and Prosperity Creek Church roads.

In Charlotte, she worked in a bridal shop until health challenges forced her to stop. She recently won a bout with cancer. Ten years ago, she also beat breast cancer.

During her recent recovery, Sanderson was asked if she would like to help with a mission project through her church, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. She agreed, and the project proved therapeutic in more ways than one.

“Sewing helped me a lot,” Sanderson said.

The mission project involved making dresses out of pillowcases for children in Haiti. The idea was introduced to her church through the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention. The organization does a variety of mission projects worldwide.

Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Beatties Ford Road in Charlotte is just one of many churches to work with Lott Carey. The church’s New Perspective Ministry donated the pillowcases. Curtains also were offered as donations and turned into dresses.

“I like fashion and creating things,” Sanderson said. Although she followed the basic pattern for the dresses, she put her own spin on them.

“Sometimes I may add a pocket or trim, or sash; I even put a hood on one,” Sanderson said.

The 100 dresses she has made so far will be sent to victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Some will be distributed on a medical mission to South Africa sponsored by the church.

Sewing is something Sanderson said she truly enjoys. She still does alterations and some home décor work.

“If I can teach anything, I advise people to use their time wisely, because it’s so precious. Play some, laugh and have fun, but learn all you can while you can,” Sanderson said.

Sanderson is still eager to learn; she said she is hoping to get a tutor to help her earn her GED. She also wants to learn how to play guitar.

Sanderson enjoys travel and talking to young people, especially young women. Over the next month, she said, she will visit family in Costa Rica.

Sanderson said she believes we are all responsible for each other and that we are richer when we learn from others.

“Time is like water, in my opinion. … You throw it on the ground and you can’t get it back,” she said.

Sanderson plans to use her time enjoying life, exploring, learning new things and helping others.

Related content


Editor's Choice Videos