Veronika Scott was a fashion student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit when her teacher, Stephen Schock, challenged her class to create a product that filled a need, rather than satisfying or creating a fad. Veronika’s design was a coat for homeless people that could transform into a sleeping bag, since in her city, she says, “you are constantly faced with the homeless epidemic.”
Not only did her design win a International Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America, it’s become the core of Veronika’s nonprofit organization, The Empowerment Plan, which hires people from homeless shelters and transition homes to help her make the coats. Now, three years later, the 24-year-old social entrepreneur expects that her team of 15 seamstresses will produce over 6,000 coats in 2014 — all of which will be distributed free of charge to people living on the streets.
Veronika originally designed the coats seeking input from people at a homeless shelter. After receiving feedback from people who used the prototype over a Detroit winter, she refined the design to create her final version which, in addition to being a waterproof and windproof coat and sleeping bag, also transforms into an over-the-shoulder bag with storage in the arm sockets.
When she started out, Veronika states,
“Everybody told me that my business was going to fail — not because of who I was giving my product to but because of who I was hiring. They said that these homeless women will never make more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — you cannot rely on them for anything. And I know my ladies enjoy proving everybody wrong.”
And, their impact is growing — according to CNN, which recently honored Veronika as one of their 10 Visionary Women of 2014, “The Empowerment Plan expects to launch a ‘buy one, give one’ program that will make it sustainable beyond the donations and sponsorships that keep it running now. Hunters and backpackers who’ve asked to buy the coat will be able to do so, and the Empowerment Plan will still create coats for homeless people who need them.”
Veronika is also excited to show other clothing producers that local manufacturing is possible: “I think we’re going to show a lot of people: you think it’s outdated to do manufacturing in your neighborhood, but I think it’s something that we have to do in the future, where it’s sustainable, where you invest in people, where they’re not interchangeable parts.”
You can read more about Veronika’s organization on CNN, or watch a short video about her work here.
To learn more about The Empowerment Plan or how you can support their work, visit http://www.empowermentplan.org/
For a wonderful book about women’s great inventions throughout history, check out “Girls Think of Everything” for readers 8 to 13.
For those in the US who would like to support efforts to end homelessness and help the over 600,000 people who experience homelessness on any given night, visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness athttp://www.naeh.org/ or to find a local homeless shelter to support in your area, visit http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/
Important in so many ways.
This is amazing and wonderful.
*points out that a celebrity does bad things*
the celebrities fans: “UM FIRST OF ALL HOW DARE YOU HOW FUCKING DARE YOU??? GET A LIFE?????? LEAVE THEM ALONE JUST BECAUSE THEYRE A LITTLE BIT RACIST SEXIST TRANSPHOBIC HOMOPHOBIC MAKES RAPE JOKES AND RESPONDS TO CRITIZISM LIKE A TWELVE YEAR OLD DOESNT MAKE THEM BAD!!!! GET A LIFE STOP BULLYING CELEBRITIES THEYRE REAL PEOPLE TOO UGH TUMBLR SOCIAL JUSTIC GONE MAD UGH ITS JUST A JOKE GET OVER IT”
if you’re a girl and you call everyone “bro” you need to stop because you sound unattractive and stupid
if you’re a person who thinks someone shouldn’t be allowed to use certain words because of their gender you need to stop because you sound unattractive and stupid
Hank Green spilling that truth tea.
Needed a positive post.
Trying to be cheered by all the hard work and citizen journalism happening. The cleanups, people helping each other, that. Ferguson, North StL, you’re resilient and beautiful.
because of how he’s dressed this was confusing for me but he’s actually a photographer for the st. louis post dispatch which made much more sense.
i think it’s important that myself and other white ppl remember that we can not even begin to truly understand the pain and trauma of what is happening in ferguson, nor can we grasp the anger and sadness black communities experience due to this situation. all we can do is stand in solidarity, listen, and not derail or take the focus away from the true face of racism and white supremacy.
this for real.
my mom just looked at a spider at our kitchen and yelled “why do you have to be like that? you dont need that many eyes or legs you need to stop”
This is why you should have a cat y’all. Egyptians believed that cats repelled evil spirits.
Cats are evil spirits. They’re just the strongest so all others must bow to their greatness.
Actually according to legend, cats are guardians of the Underworld. So once you are dead if you try to sneak back into the land of the living they send you back where you came from. They protect the living from the dead.
If you ever wonder why a cat stares off into the wild blue yonder and then bolts off for “no reason…”That cat even looks like it’s accusing him of something like wait a Fucking minute here are you dead did you really think you could slip that shit passed me
I don’t know where you get your sources but cats were not fucking “guardians of the underworld”; this movie is based on EGYPT, cats were common domestic pets by the time Egypt unified, and they were representations of the goddess Bastet, ex goddess of warfare (formerly asociated with a lioness ), post-unification protector goddess. Cats were guardians of houses because they embodied the representation of Bastet, the “EYE of Ra”, the one that tells ra whatever happens. If a cat saw an evil spirit, it would tell Ra, and Ra would smite down the fucker in an instant. Bastet was also feared by evil spirits because she was the only one to be able to harm the evil snake Apep and save Ra’s ass, so you bet someone that escaped Anubis’ judgement and Osiris’ preservation would do well to fear Bastet out of fear of being caught by said gods.
They were seen as this as well because they disposed of rats and snakes (perhaps an egyptian once saw a cat killing a snake and went "OH BAST JUST KILLED APEP" and that’s how the mythos started), so they were useful animals to keep as pets, revered, adored, mourned when they died, and if you killed one you received death penalty.
The only animal seen as a “guardian of the underworld” were jackals, because they embodied Anubis and were seen near tombs, but that’s because they entered said tombs to try and eat the corpses and the egyptians based their entire Anubis lore on them.
So yeah, if you were an evil emperor that escaped the process of the gods you once worshipped, unleashed curses around the world disrespecting your own pantheon, and you came across an avatar of the goddess of Warfare that could also call upon Ra to pulverize you with sunlight, and have your soul sundered by Osiris and weighted by Anubis to go to your rightful place as someone who perished AGES ago, you would shit on your pants as well.
VIRGINIA JUST LEGALIZED GAY MARRIAGE FIRST STATE IN THE SOUTH 30 MINUTES AGO HELL FUCKIN YEA TURN THE FUCK UP IN THIS STATE FUNCTION
yes hello 911 i’m being forced into adulthood and i don’t like it send help