Bonita Kline, Sunnyside Artworks
by Heather Senison
May 22, 2012 | 15375 views | 3 3 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To satisfy her love for design and the garment industry, Bonita Kline began giving sewing lessons to kids in her Sunnyside community two years ago.

After growing up near Cleveland, Ohio, Kline moved to Sunnyside in 1987. She received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Cincinnati and worked in the garment industry for 25 years.

However, in the span of four years, Kline lost her husband and three of her children to a rare disease called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, which makes those who suffer from it more susceptible to cancer.

It was difficult for Kline to go back to her regular job while dealing with the pain of losing her loved ones, so she turned her attention to Sunnyside Artworks, which hosts sewing and craft programs for kids in the community.

“I think having the kids around, though some days it hurts, some days it's really the best thing,” Kline, who has a surviving 16-year-old son, said. “Because my passion for art really is so strong, it really has been healing to work with the kids.”

Kline hosts an after-school program for kids aged seven to 13 in a studio in her basement, and a week-long summer camp for her advanced students. This year, she is introducing another week-long summer program for her younger students.

Students in her school year program start out making a small quilt to get a feel for their sewing machine, and throughout the year learn to make bathrobes, party dresses, fitted trousers and other garments.

The school year program culminates with a fashion show, called “Project Streetwear,” in the basement auditorium at Queen of Angels Church, where Kline also works at a two-week craft summer camp.

“I'm finding now that my passion for art and design has really grown and I'm executing it in a different way and I'm really loving it,” Kline said.

She is also one of the founders on the board of directors of the Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS) Association, which fundraisers for research into the rare disease.

For more information on the Association, visit, or for her summer camp, which is still taking applications, visit

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Donna DiDonato
January 01, 2013
I too have often thought of you and your family. It was truly a privilege to have worked with you those years ago and while I am heartbroken to hear of your continued losses since we met, am inspired by what you have since. Many blessings to you, Bonita. Thank you for all you do.

Donna DiDonato, LCSW
Jenni McClung
June 26, 2012
I've thought of you so much throughout the last several years. Glad to hear about your latest projects! Can't believe your oldest is 16 now!!!
May 28, 2012
We love you, Bonita! Thanks for everything you do.