Spirit Sightings

April 5, 2015: Easter Sunday


From Sandra Rooney

A video was making its way around the internet recently about a young woman from Detroit, only 24, who is CEO and founder of her own company: The Empowerment Plan. Here’s how that came to be.

Veronika Scott describes herself as coming from a family of addicts, where she felt she was set up for failure, “in a hole she had to climb out of.” Then she received “a great scholarship” to college, the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. A project in a Design Activism class changed her life. Her professor, Stephen Schock, said they were looking for a way for their students to become problem-solvers. The project was to design something to meet an actual need.

Veronika chose to look for a project that would help the homeless, an ever-present concern in Detroit. She began by talking to the people in a homeless shelter. She got the idea of designing a coat that could be transformed into a sleeping bag at night. She went back, three nights a week, every week for more than three months, talking to the homeless, designing such a coat. As she was leaving the shelter one day, a woman started yelling at her: “We don’t need coats, we need jobs!” And Veronika knew she was right.

What grew out of Veronika’s work on the coat/sleeping bag, still a need, was a plan to employ homeless women as seamstresses, who would not only make the coats, but who would learn the skills they needed to pull themselves out of their hole. Today Veronika employs 20 previously homeless women, is dedicated to paying a living wage, and is selling coats to groups in 29 states in the U.S. and three Canadian provinces, who distribute them to the homeless in their communities.

The Empowerment Plan’s mission is “to educate, employ and empower homeless individuals to create a better life for themselves and their families while producing a humanitarian product for those in need.”

Explore… John 20:1–18

  • Reading this passage, what do you imagine the disciples were feeling? 
  • What might they have been thinking after the remarkable experience of feeling Jesus’ presence with them?
  • What are today’s homeless probably feeling?
  • Beyond meeting their physical needs, what do they most need to feel?
  • Where do you see lives being transformed?

Prayer links…

Ever-present God, too often we allow our vision to become clouded; we feel hopeless in the face of the challenges we see. Break through our clouded vision and empower us to bring light and hope to those around us. Amen.

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