Shawna Spencer was the proud owner of a high-end shoe boutique. While the shoes inside cost between $250 to $1200, she saw an unfortunate trend outside those doors. She had a disturbing encounter with some high school girls one day, and she was inspired to make a difference.
So Shawna created I Am You. It is a non-profit organization that helps give young women the information they need to help them start their own businesses. According to ABC 7 News, the name of the organization represents her own time on those same streets as a teenager.
Spencer believes the teens also need hands on training in sales and marketing. So as part of the program, they run a retail store, Red Dot Resale Shop, 1007 West Lawrence. The students sell the clothes they make as well as donated merchandise.
I Am You also has a mentoring component to help guide the teens through other life issues. Tanisha Washington completed the program and now volunteers. She says for her, the mentoring was most compelling.
“I came back here to do volunteering because I know it’s a lot of girls have went through some of the things that I went through and I know they need some of the skills that I learned,” Washington said.
For Spencer, seeing the young women grow and gain skills is proof she made the right business decision.
Screenshot from I Am You