Perhaps one of the greatest attributes of a good leader is not to be daunted by unfulfilled needs. To instead see obstacles as a problem to be solved and not a crippling factor that prevents progress. Just four years ago, Veronika Scott was challenged by a class assignment to create something that solved a social need. After spending time at Detroit homeless shelters, Veronika envisioned a waterproof, heat-trapping jacket that could transform into a sleeping bag.
A good leader is also open to criticism and input. So when one of the women staying at the shelter told Veronica that they needed jobs, not jackets, Veronika listened. The jackets did seem like a temporary fix to a larger issue. How could this project meet an even greater need in the community?
One of the most devastating blows a society can thrust upon itself is an environment where women don’t realize how valuable they are. Veronika stepped up to the plate to knock down those misconceptions. She is now the founder and CEO of The Empowerment Plan, a non-profit that employs women in homeless shelters to make jackets for the homeless of Detroit. It’s an atmosphere where women who once had little hope can learn and change their way of thinking. They have the opportunity to realize that they hold the power to change their future. They are strong, independent, and capable.
Meet Teia. She’s been a seamstress at The Empowerment Plan for over a year. Teia recognized this job as a once in lifetime opportunity and she has used it as a step in the right direction for herself and her two children. Way to go, Teia. Your efforts are an inspiration to us all.
Teia’s outfit: Carhartt Women’s Force Performance Tank, Clarksburg Zip-Front Sweatshirt, & Slim Fit Nyona Jean
You’ve hit the sweet spot when you find a way to merge your passion and your job. Minneapolis graphic designer, Kelsey Dusenka, has found a way to do just that. Kelsey has three cats of her own, but after finding an abandoned, malnourished kitten beside a dumpster in the dead of winter, she found herself on a mission. She cared for the kitten until she found a good home for it. Kelsey realized how difficult it is to part with an animal and how much more difficult it is to take any pets to the shelter, which may be why so many are abandoned. With all of that weighing heavy on her heart, Kelsey wanted to create an educational resource for first time pet owners to learn what it takes to raise a cat or a dog before they adopt so the animal wouldn’t be returned to a shelter or abandoned. Kelsey is now working on starting a Kickstarter to fund My Pet 101. Ultimately, she’d like to combine forces with shelters and have a presence at their adoption events. Keep an eye out for updates on Kelsey’s website.
Tips for first time pet owners from Kelsey Dusenka:
“Do your research. You’re not buying an animal, you’re adopting one. The biggest reason newly adopted animals are returned to shelters is because of owners’ lack of knowledge, which is also the easiest problem to fix. Know how much it’s going to cost, how to set up your home, and how to raise it. As simple as it sounds, the more you know going into owning an animal, the less surprises there’ll be, and the easier it’ll be on you and your new pet.”
The Pixie Project, started by Amy Sacks, is a non-profit animal adoption center and rescue in Portland. Animals have been her passion since childhood. Her passion then turned into her mission and her mission is now her job. The idea behind The Pixie Project is turning the shelter experience into a positive environment where people can reach out and give animals a better life. If you’re in the Portland area and you’re looking for a pet, check this place out. Even if you’re not in the pet market, stop by the cat room and get some kitten cuddles in.
shop Amy’s look here: Carhartt women’s sandstone active jacket, work-dry striped socks, and fleece duck gloves