CARTER’S HOUSE INSPIRED BY FOUNDER’S HARDSHIP
What drives innovation? The answer to that question is as varied as a rainbow.
For Shawana Carter-Henderson of the nonprofit, Carter’s House, it was overcoming a difficult segment of her family’s life.
Seven years ago Ed and Shawana Henderson found themselves in a place they never imagined they would be. After weathering several financial setbacks, they felt broken and unable to rebuild their lives on their own.
Following a season of separation, they reconciled and landed in Irving, where they had family. However, all was not yet restored as they couldn’t afford rent and were instead were living in a hotel with three children.
As school started that fall, the challenge increased with the need for uniforms and proper clothing. Quite the resourceful woman, Shawana learned about the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. This federal law reframes the definition of homeless for children defining homeless children as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”
In Irving, this allowed Project PASS to offer two school uniforms per semester. While extremely grateful for this assistance, two uniforms were not going to be enough to last from August to December.
With the help of her community, Shawana and her family found their footing again. Four years after this experience Shawana was now wrestling with her purpose in life. She knew her dream was tied into helping children, but she always thought that was going to be through education.
NONPROFIT IS FOUNDED TO OFFER UNIFORMS
When she sat down and let herself just dream, the vision for Carter’s House was birthed. Originally, Carter’s House was going to be transitional housing for the entire family. Upon researching the investment and structure needed to build that housing, Shawana turned to something she could implement immediately. She could assist families with school uniforms.
Before there was a nonprofit, before anyone was watching, Shawana started meeting the needs of her community. In August of 2014, the first board meeting was held and clothes started finding their way to families at a neighborhood school.
In 2015, Shawana took Carter’s House from a great idea and good start to the next level when she was accepted into Cause Studio, a Dallas-based startup nonprofit incubator and training resource initiative created by Kimberly O’Neil.
Carter’s House is not a tech startup, but it is disrupting systematic need by providing quality clothing to children in low-income families.
Cause Studio understands that some of the most innovative ideas and greatest solutions to our community challenges are created by local residents. Yet most of the nonprofits that are generated from these ideas and individuals lack the knowledge and resources to scale and sustain their solutions. A three-year program, Cause Studio programs, and services are primarily offered during evening and weekend hours.
In today’s culture, the word “innovation” is often associated with technology and disruption of a particular industry. Carter’s House is not a tech startup, but it is disrupting systematic need by providing quality clothing to children in low-income families.
To learn more about the work of Carter’s House and Cause Studio, connect with them on through their websites and social media.
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