Many people lost their jobs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Audrea Horejsi of Ellendale was no exception. However, she decided to embrace the unknown and embark on her own business venture after her daughter suggested she turn her crafting hobby into a living.
Horejsi posted to Facebook and asked if area parents would be interested in craft classes for their children. The response, she said, was overwhelmingly positive. Crafts and Creations officially became her home-based business earlier this month, and Horejsi said she was elated to be an official small business owner and craft instructor for kids. Many people in the surrounding communities have been supportive of her new business and have donated their own craft materials.
“I like to do all sorts of crafting — I worked in an office setting most of my life, so this was something new,” Horejsi said. “After making a Facebook post and seeing there was a lot of interest, I got everything set up and finalized and began reaching out to local community education groups to start teaching the classes.”
Horejsi has a long history of being involved in creating crafts, keepsakes, photography and more. She previously set up crafting stations for kids through her church and has taught craft classes through local community education programs prior to making being a craft instructor her full-time job. She has been a troop leader for the Girl Scouts and was successful in more than doubling the members in a single school year. She believes in prioritizing hands-on learning for children to get a sense of creative freedom through art.
She will be teaching her “Kids Just Wanna Have Fun” classes through community education in five communities in the coming months. She has classes available in Blooming Prairie, N.R.H.E.G., Albert Lea, Wells, and Waseca. She is also working with community education in Owatonna and will likely be offering classes in January.
Michelle Southworth, the community education coordinator in Blooming Prairie, said she was more than happy to work with Horejsi to bring this class to the community.
“I know how passionate [Horejsi] is about creative things, so it was easy to get the green light from [the superintendent] to do this,” Southworth recalled.
The classes are geared towards children in grades K-6. Horejsi said that some classes will offer two to three different projects that are fun for all ages and kids who attend can choose to do one project or attempt all three. Each class will last an hour.
Horejsi warns that the classes will function slightly different in each town. Horejsi recommends that those interested contact their preferred community education office for further details about the class and get registered.
Most of the communities that are hosting her class begin in October and run through March.
Masks are required for all persons attending the class. Because Horejsi knows how unpredictable things can be with the pandemic looming, she is working on a plan to create craft kits for those who cannot attend the classes due to time constraints or if in-person courses cannot be held.
“Being creative gives children a voice through their artwork,” Horejsi said. “I feel creativity is so important, and I want to bring this opportunity to the table for children.”