UpstART is a social enterprise on a mission to support women at risk of sexual violence, exploitation and homelessness to find security and stability in their lives. We collect and repurpose donated jewelry and fashion accessories. In our creative co-ops hosted at multiple sites around Portland, our budding female artists design and create by hand unique jewelry pieces using the broken down elements of our donations. All those involved with these creative co-ops have felt the transformative power of creating something beautiful and unique, of sitting at a table with friends and strangers and feeling proud of making something that is your own. In the last year, UpstART has begun expanding its footprint from not only providing creative opportunities but also income generating opportunities by selling the handmade creations around Portland at communities of faith and street fairs and are planning to expand to other venues. The artists employed have appreciated not only the employment but the opportunity to see their pieces as well as others be purchased by folks impressed with their creativity and the beauty of the pieces.
Women engaged with UpstART are participating in opportunities to be creative and to create something of value, something that can often be missing in their lives in the past. Several are also receiving employment and retail experience working alongside volunteer at jewelry sales. The plan for the next few years is to expand the footprint of UpstART to host creative co-ops at new sites. UpstART will also be increasing employment opportunities for our women by increasing our sales and developing a retail training and internship program.
We provided 68 hours of employment to women at risk of sexual violence, exploitation and homelessness. We also hosted over 40 creative co-ops (jewelry making) sessions for our ladies.
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