Growing up in Central Ohio I would have fit today’s classification of an at-risk, opportunity youth. I was born with a heroin addiction, I was a foster child, struggled with my own issues of value and worth, had many set backs, but through it all I wasn’t going to let my circumstances define my outcome.
I graduated with from The Ohio State University with my Bachelor’s in Marketing & Communications. Upon graduation I went on to a successful entrepreneurial adventure with a Caribbean restaurant in the Short North 1993-1997 called Reggae Cuisine. After years of juggling cross coastal family and business, I joined my husband, packed up and moved, later living and working in Africa.
I came back home; with two boys, a Masters degree in Mass Communications, and a lot of determination to serve my community. I expanded my learning to include an MBA from Ohio Domincan University and starting working in the nonprofit sector. Now I work hard leading an incredible organization, building on a foundation of LeaderSpark’s more than 20 years serving youth in Columbus Ohio. I serve every day with a group of people with a passion for youth and one idea leading us: “to be the person we needed when we were younger.”
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
LeaderSpark ignites the power of youth leadership; serving youth 14-24 with an engaging program to get them leading and working in their community. We support and train youth so they can have a positive impact on their family, community and lifestyle. We started in 1987 and have continued is a youth leadership and workforce development program designed to help youth develop a positive self-image, effective life management skills, and achievable goals. Our program is directed toward reducing rates of at risk behaviors attributing to juvenile detention, school suspension and barriers attributed to living in a low-resource areas.
In our desire to focus on engaging young people with a high level of community service learning that is closely linked to group mentor-based discussions of future life options. LeaderSpark program consists of supervised community service learning, classroom-based discussions, and engaging activities related to key social-developmental tasks of adolescence. All teenagers deserve to have the right to learn what their own emotional prosperity looks like.
Our office has been buzzing with youth who were eager to come up with a way to meet the economic and social challenges of unemployment, to that end they came up with an innovative approach to business. LeaderSpark is launching a social enterprise in Columbus Ohio to provide training and transitional employment for youth who currently face limited opportunities within the labor market. Ignited by youth and powered by the spark of bees youth will learn beekeeping, help the environment, and acquire employment and entrepreneurial skills. Honey Child is a social enterprise that will generate social impact, empowerment and change.
What is the purpose of this loan?
Our social enterprise will address unemployment amongst young people who face considerable barriers accessing emerging social and economic resources in Columbus. For these young people to fully benefit from and participate in Columbus’s economic growth they must be able to access ‘decent’ employment opportunities. Many factors are restricting access to decent employment such as lack of education, limited supports or networks, inability to access resources and engagement in illegal employment.
Honeybees and other wild pollinators are in decline having become subject to a range of debilitating factors including starvation/poor nutrition, loss of habitat, invasive species, disease and harmful pesticides.
Show me the honey! By creating a social enterprise involving the production, marketing and distribution of bee-product-based personal care/cosmetic products. It will provide training and transitional employment for young people who currently have limited opportunities within the formal labor market. Our enterprise will contribute to the conservation of local indigenous bee populations. The production of a sustainable eco-certified range of products will have a positive impact on our youth, our customers and the environment.
Where will the money go? Company Formation ($3,000) – Accounting and legal services – Federal/State/Municipal fees – Cost of transferring funds Product Development ($5,000) – Renting workshop space – Procuring equipment – Product development and registration/eco-certification – Staffing – Initial production costs Apiary Setup ($2,000) – Procuring beekeeping equipment – Procuring bees! – Costs of processing bee-products (honey, beeswax and propolis)
Years in operation: More than 5 years