Archive for the ‘ Grant Recipients’ Category

Vote The Center for Creative Arts Therapy for The WomensNet Amber Grant

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

This past October we announced our Qualification Grant Winner Azizi Marshall, founder of The Center for Creative Arts Therapy.

Now, Azizi needs your help. View her video below where she explains why you should vote for The Center for Creative Arts Therapy to win the additional $2,000.

About The Center for Creative Arts Therapy: After a few years of soul searching, Azizi stumbled upon an opportunity to do theatre with inner city youth. Through theatre she saw these kids grow, and learn about a world outside of their existence. They were able to give voice to their struggles and begin to form bonds with not only one another but also with the community.

From there she quickly began studying and obtained her license as a licensed clinical professional counselor, a board certified trainer in drama therapy and a registered expressive arts therapist within 4 years. Azizi wanted to make sure that children and families were able to have access to programs that would not only allow individuals a place to explore and grow, but also the community at large which is how The Center for Creative Arts Therapy was born. The Center for Creative Arts Therapy is an Arts-Based, Psychotherapy Practice and Training Center.

Interested in receiving a grant like Azizi? We award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply. We’d love to hear your story!

Take me back to the voting page.

Baked Cookie Company Is Our November Grant Winner!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

After revealing November’s Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Kristy McDonough, Owner of Baked Cookie Company!f

Read on to learn all about Kristy and her cookie company, (yum)!

Kristy McDonough
Baked Cookie Company
Kristy McDonough
Website

WN: Talk about why you started your journey with Baked Cookie Company

KD:I have been in the kitchen most of my life. Stealing butter from the refrigerator at age 3, perfecting PB&J’s at age 6, baking anything I could from a box as soon as I could read and as soon as my parents let me use the oven on my own. And shortly there after, raiding my mother’s cookbooks to make the most ample spread of Christmas Cookies my little hands could produce.

The start of this business really began while I was in high school. Being unsatisfied with most of the cookies on the market- they were too small, too crumbly, too dry, not enough chocolate chips, I unknowingly began to develop my own special recipe for the classic chocolate chip cookie. I wanted something that was plump, moist and exploding with chocolate chips. With hundreds of trials under my belt, this recipe you taste today took me 10 years to perfect and I am delighted to share it with you.

Additionally, I believe there is so much more to a cookie that meets the eye. I believe cookies should be savored and that you should taste that comfort of home in every bite. For me, cookies truly are a symbol of not only something sweet, but also a symbol of love and comfort. It has always amazed me how our senses can make us feel and remember experiences so strongly. For me, the simple smell of a cookie baking takes me back to my childhood. It is these feelings and comforts of home that I want to share with the world and what motivates me to stay on this cookie filled journey!

WN: Who’s responsible for the creation of these cookies?

KD: I am responsible for all cookie creation! I believe cookies should be made the old fashioned way- with fresh unsalted butter, granulated sugar and only the best chocolate chips. Our cookies are scooped and formed by hand and baked to perfect color of golden brown. Every one of our recipes was developed and perfected to ensure only the most comforting, tasty, plump, moist and indulgent cookie would be produced just for you. Our expectation to make only the best cookies is simply unmatched.

I do have to admit that though I may do all the baking, there are many supports in my life that have helped me along the way. I have had many family, friends and colleagues jump into help in other areas- working with me at Farmers Markets, offering marketing advice, dish washing and even taste tasting (most really don’t mind the taste testing part!). I could not be where I am today without them!

WN: What are the most effective marketing channels for your company?

KD: The most effective marketing channel for us is currently conducting sample drops around the Denver Area. Every time I bake a batch of cookies, I make a few extra and select a few local businesses to bring some cookies to. I pop in to introduce myself, I bring cookies, napkins and some menus. (I’ll even put a special promo code on the menus for a discount) Firstly, the business is always surprised. Someone bringing in cookies doesn’t happen every day. Secondly, they get to try my product immediately and they always ask questions about other products and services. And Three, no one really ever says no to a free cookie! This method has turned into a number of repeat customers and consistent weekly orders. Additionally, this is a great way to network in my community and make personal connections with future clients!

WN: What are your long-term goals for Baked Cookie Company?

KD: My primary long term goal is open up a bakery store front of our own. Every decision I make has this goal in mind. I could be taking the easy way out- baking and freezing dough, pre-baking cookies and freezing them, or only accepting orders on certain days, but I simply refuse. I also want the Baked Cookie Company named to be equated with quality, freshness, comfort and love. This is why every single cookie is baked to order, regardless of the size of your order. This is why we scoop and roll every cookie by hand. This is why we pay so much attention to detail.

One of the number one questions we get asked is where our shop is located. And I always answer “We are working on it one cookie at a time!”

WN: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

KD: I would give two pieces of advice to female entrepreneurs: 1.) Be Persistent and 2.) Be Vulnerable.

Being persistent is a given. Regardless of the struggle or setback, you must keep pressing on and taking another step. The same goes for having a success. Enjoy it in the moment, but don’t let it blind you. Your progress is contingent to your persistence- so keep going- one step at a time, (or one cookie at a time!).

Being Vulnerable was the hardest lesson for me to learn. I have personally struggled with asking for help, putting myself and my business out there and approaching others for advice. The truth is though, I have made the greatest strides in my business when I took a risk at being vulnerable, when I have asked other businesses for help or support and simply walked into a business and said “Hi! My name is Kristy and I own a cookie business- here’s a sample.” It these moments that I have learned about my capabilities and the fact that the worst that can happen is that some just might say ‘No.’ So put yourself out there, be a little vulnerable and see what happens.

Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

Also Note: The new voting page for the 2016, $1,000 Amber grant will be posted after 2015’s Amber Grant Winner is Selected.

Vote Honeymoon Brewery for The WomensNet Amber Grant

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Back in August we announced our Qualification Grant Winner Ayla Bystrom-Williams, founder of Honeymoon Brewery.

Now, Ayla needs your help. View her video below where she explains why you should vote for Honeymoon Brewery to win the additional $2,000.

About: Honeymoon Brewery is a female founded, Santa Fe based, brewery which utilizes both traditional styles of beer brewing and the kombucha style of brewing. HoneyMoon Brewing fits right into the growing Craft Beer Movement by offering traditional beers while also filling a gap in the market with kombucha style beers.

Interested in receiving a grant like Ayla? We award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply. We’d love to hear your story!

Take me back to the voting page.

Vote Hammerstone School for The WomensNet Amber Grant

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Back in February we announced our Qualification Grant Winner Maria Klemperer-Johnson, founder of Hammerstone School of Carpentry for Women.

Now, Maria needs your help. View her video below where she explains why you should vote for Hammerstone to win the additional $2,000.

About: Hammerstone School aims to empower women and non-women alike to use their bodies and minds for creative and useful ends by teaching carpentry classes. By increasing the skills of individual women, Hammerstone hopes to increase the number of women in the trades, and ultimately change workplaces for women in and outside of the trades.

Interested in receiving a grant like Maria? We award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply. We’d love to hear your story!

Take me back to the voting page.

Vote Sassy Bambino for The WomensNet Amber Grant

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Back in April we announced our Qualification Grant Winner Amanda Holdsworth, founder of Sassy Bambino and the Heal-A-Boo-Boo Project.

Now, Amanda needs your help. View her video below where she explains why you should vote for Sassy Bambino to win the additional $2,000.

About:Amanda started the Heal-A-Boo-Boo Project, providing free “peek-a-boo-boo” hospital shirts and matching legwarmers to babies and toddlers facing surgery or other medical procedures.

Interested in receiving a grant like Amanda? We award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply. We’d love to hear your story!

Take me back to the voting page.

The Center for Creative Arts Therapy is Our October Grant Winner!

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

After revealing Octobers’s Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Azizi Marshall, founder of The Center for Creative Arts Therapy!

Read on to learn all about Azizi and her business.

Azizi Photo DT
The Center for Creative Arts Therapy
Azizi Marshall
Website

WN: What is art-based psychotherapy? And how did you get involved in this field?

AM: Arts-based psychotherapy involves a licensed psychotherapist and graduate level training on how to incorporate the arts for healing others’ struggling with mental health issues. I use story making, role-play, music creations, collages, art journals, therapeutic performance, improvisation, and yes those coloring books for adults, to help a client gain new perspectives on their life. For example, a child with autism can come and see me to practice reading social cues, body language, eye contact and verbal expressions through role-play and improvisation. A stressed out working mother may use our sessions to explore her feelings of “mom guilt” through the use of an art journal, which allows her to express her feelings through images instead of regular talk therapy.

Growing up in a household of two artistic psychotherapist parents, I learned at an early age that people are beautifully complex. I was witness to how the arts could guide extremely troubled individuals and communities to a place of healing and growth. By participating in group therapy with my father’s clients struggling with eating disorders, multiple personalities, aggressive behavior, etc., I observed my father transform these individuals from people that hated life to people that loved themselves. It was not through traditional talk therapy, but through a therapeutic intervention called psychodrama; the marrying of psychotherapy and theatre.

After having worked as a professional theatre artist for many years, my father passed away from a heart attack when I was 21. I was lost for quite some time without his presence. I later stumbled upon an opportunity to do theatre with inner city youth. They were some of the most troubled teens I had ever encountered, and they had little knowledge of the world’s possibilities of growth due to their community’s lack of safety and financial stability. Through theatre I saw these kids grow, and learn about a world outside of their existence. They were able to give voice to their struggles and begin to form bonds with not only one another but also with the community.

WN: What classes do you offer? Do you have a favorite?

AM: We have both a Center for Training (where we train therapists on how to use the arts in their practice) and a Center for Therapy (where we offer individuals, communities, schools and organizations creative arts therapy services).

At our Center for Training we offer courses that lead toward a Registered Drama Therapist and/or a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist. Our classes are specifically customized for our students’ interests, and include Expressive Arts Therapy with War Veterans, Drama Therapy for Eating Disorders, Multi-Modal Arts Integration, Therapeutic Theatre, etc. My favorite class to teach is our Psychodrama course, as it is the class I first taught with my dad as a teen.

At our Counseling Center, we offer support groups for New Moms, First Responders, and Teenagers. We also offer a Therapeutic Theatre program, where we create original theatrical performances that express participants’ personal stories through dance, music and story telling. They are the creators, directors and performers. While it is hard to pick one group over another, the one I get the most energy from is our Therapeutic Theatre program. During one of our projects at an all girls’ high school, we created an original musical based on their lives. The Illinois High School Theatre Association was so impressed by what we had done, that they invited us to be the first student-led workshop in their history. It was an empowering experience for those girls, and some have presented with me again at other conferences on how theatre is therapeutic.

WN: Can anyone take classes at the center?

AM: Anyone wishing to pursue a passion in healing others through the arts is welcome to take classes at our center. We typically get people from around the world with backgrounds in social work, theatre, dance, counseling, and education. Our therapeutic services are offered to everyone and anyone can come and take classes at the center. We offer individual, group, couples, families and communities mental health services that incorporate the creative arts. I have seen people as young as 3 and as wise as 91.

WN: What is your biggest motivation?

AM: Not to sound cliché, but I do this for my father and my children. I want to pass on the legacy that my father bestowed upon me to share. Growing up he taught me how to read people’s body language while sitting at the mall “people watching”, and express myself through the arts through our collaboration on an award-winning American Red Cross theatre performance program exploring community health issues such as AIDS/HIV and domestic violence. It was almost as if he was training me to be who I am today.

My two girls have grown up in the theatre world; watching mommy direct shows, choreograph routines, run through lines with clients. My oldest daughter directs her friends in made up dance concerts and plays, reenacts “Romeo and Juliet”, and lives through her art. It is where she breathes. My youngest has the muscle definition of an Olympic gymnast. She has always sought out the unknown. She is fearless.

My ability to heal others through the arts is one way my girls will continue to know and understand their grandfather, since they will never meet him. It is a sorrowful challenge at times, yet one that keeps me going every day.

WN: What piece of advice would you give other female entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

AM: Perfection is the enemy of done. As I write the answers to these questions, I am covered in a fine dust of insulation debris from construction going on at our house caused by a flood, syrup from my 2-year-old daughter’s hands during a goodbye hug as I went into the office, and pen scribbles on my hand as I slept, trying not to forget what I needed to do the next day. I have a “To Do” list that goes on for 3 pages, with additional “To Dos” attached to the other “To Dos”.

Life as an entrepreneur is messy, literally and figuratively. You never know what will happen minute to minute, let alone what you may be covered in. Having a plan and being able to deviate from that plan in order to push your business forward is important. You’ve go to roll with the punches, because if you wait to jump into your dreams for that “just right” moment, it will never come. I have failed so many times trying to get things perfect, because perfection does not exist. It’s just you and a dream, so go ahead and make it a reality.

WN: Anything else you’d like to add?

AM: When I heard that I had won this award, I had just finished presenting at an Expressive Arts Association Conference with the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. I literally started to cry. It was as if the universe was telling me that I am on the right track; that who I am does make a difference. I have had many people throughout my life tell me that who I was was not important. “you love drama therapy too much”, “you smile too much” or “you have a strong personality”. It took me a long time to understand that what they said about me had more to do with their own insecurities than with me.

My passion for combining the arts and mental health extends beyond me as an individual, through my new creative arts therapy center for the community, and training center for drama and expressive arts therapy. Communities deserve to have access to creative arts therapy services and professional training. Through this grant I can continue to share these services with the world.

Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

And if you’d like to vote for Azizi to win the $2,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.