What Inspired Unshattered
Unshattered was inspired by many things…
I’ve always noticed opportunity in places that others tend to overlook. I love repurposing things that can be put together in new ways… like my Grandfather’s suede coat. It hung in my closet, much past its useful life and too big to wear, until I took it apart and used the suede pieces to make a bag.
Several years ago, I had the privilege of being involved in a job training program in a Federal Prison. Since then I’ve been looking for ways to unearth the confidence and talent in people who feel defeated and to help them find ways to succeed and believe in themselves. Several ideas have inspired me to find a way to help people who need to move past their former lives and find new purpose.
First, I read about Brenda Palms Barber and the story of Sweet Beginnings, LLC and the beelove™ company. Brenda believes in second chances and created a way to employ people with a criminal record. Sweet Beginnings has reduced the recidivism rate for their employee population to below 4% compared to the national average of 65%*.
Then, I read about Catherine Hoke and the story of Defy Ventures. Catherine, a former venture capitalist, put her skills to work to create redemption stories through an MBA-like program for former felons with entrepreneurial potential. After completing their business training, they compete for funding to begin their own companies.
In December of 2012, I met two ladies from the Walter Hoving Home. Women whose lives had been shattered by their addictions to drugs and alcohol. Realities of childhood trauma, the pressures of life’s responsibilities, the hopelessness of feeling beyond love… the stories that pushed them to make choices that destroyed their lives. Until they made a choice that destruction wouldn’t be the end of their story and came to the Walter Hoving Home.
As the ideas were gathering in my mind about ways I could help contribute to the $500 monthly sponsorship fee each lady at the Walter Hoving Home is asked to raise, a friend of mine fell ill with cancer. I could describe him as the strongest human being I ever met, but I’d rather describe him as the biggest hearted person I ever met. He himself was a story of redemption and he was working to build an organization to reach back and help kids at risk make better choices than he did. Jedidiah lost his battle with cancer, but I don’t think he lost his opportunity help others. His name means “beloved of God” and that became my reason.
And so, because they are “His beloved”, Unshattered began.
PS – Curious to know more?
Check out our article in Hudson Valley Magazine, “Three Cheers for These Three Local Do-Gooder Businesses” January 2015.