Episode 28: It's Not About Your Past, But Where You Are Going

Building a career in the male-dominated world of major league sports is something not many women attempt, let alone achieve. That’s why when Amy landed an internship with the Detroit Tigers, following many rejections, she knew she’d scored a chance. The internship turned into a full-time dream job and more than a decade with the Tigers. The rest of Amy’s story, however, goes to show that something as simple as a few interchanges with one’s neighbors can set fire to a new passion and change everything.

Today you can find former major league baseball employee Amy Peterson and her team scavenging for aged and fallen scraps of graffiti around the walls of Detroit, several times a year. What’s that? Grafitti? You heard right— Amy is “turning [graffitti and mural paint] scraps into wearable art,” each piece entirely unique, and each made by a unique woman helped out of joblessness, homelessness, the struggles of refugee life or life after incarceration. With minimal background in jewelry making, Amy and her business partner Dianna have gotten real creative over the past 7 years, teaching such women to repurpose an unusual and rather stigmatized material and at the same time repurpose their lives.

After receiving assistance to find permanent housing, women creating jewelry for Amy’s for-profit, Rebel Nell, are paid to take the necessary classes to learn the skill through Amy’s non-profit, TEA (Teach Empower Achieve), along with other skills such as balancing finances, finding transportation, and forming dreams and goals. Tune in to find out how Amy made the leap from a hard-earned professional career to beginning a social enterprise, what graffiti had to do with it, and how this singular woman’s heart was captivated by the struggles of women in her area. Her compassion and determination to help these women is clear in the fact that no woman who works for Amy at Rebel Nell is given a background check. She explains, “I don’t care about your past, only where you wanna go.”

Visit rebelnell.com to see for yourself how spent grafitti is being transformed into beautiful pieces by empowered women. You can also follow the organization on Facebook and Instagram.

Check in with your hosts on Insta as well!





1 comment

  • This is so interesting and inspiring!

    Noelle Oscarson

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