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Today's Takeaway with Florine Mark

Jan 2, 2023

With Amy Peterson, Rebel Nell Co-Founder


Over the past few years, the plight of women being homeless has increased. According to a 2021 survey, more than half a million people in the U.S. are homeless, and approximately 39% of those are women and girls. For individuals working in retail or the hospitality industry, the resulting loss of so many jobs during the pandemic put them in difficult financial situations and they could no longer afford to pay rent. Moving in with family or sleeping on a friend’s couch isn’t a long-term solution, especially when children are involved. While homeless shelters may present an alternative to living on the streets, they aren’t the safest environment for single women and young children. It’s not uncommon for a woman to suddenly find herself homeless and in over her head without a safety net. We wonder what we could possibly do to help. But sometimes the best way we can help someone is to do so in a way that provides them with the means to help themselves. For example, what if we could provide that person with the education, training, and support to truly change their life for the better?


What if there was a self-sustaining way to create educational opportunities for women and help them find full-time employment and independence, even if they’re living on the streets or in a homeless shelter? Since 2014, Detroit-based organization, Rebel Nell, has been providing this solution. Rebel Nell offers training, employment, housing assistance, and other types of support to women who are homeless or living in shelters. If you want to find out how to help women by giving them the tools to achieve financial freedom and live independently, you’ll want to listen to my interview with Rebel Nell co-founder, Amy Peterson.


What You’ll Hear in This Episode:

  • Rebel Nell exists to provide equitable employment opportunities and wraparound support for women with barriers.
  • Rebel Nell is located in Detroit and hires from six local shelters.
  • Who can benefit from Rebel Nell’s services and training?
  • What type of jewelry and gifts does Rebel Nell make, and how does that help the women?
  • Amy talks about her dream of wanting to be the first female general manager of a Major League Baseball Team, and how she found her way to Rebel Nell.
  • How did Eleanor Roosevelt play a role in the inspiration for Rebel Nell?
  • Amy talks about the important relationships her company has built, including one with the Detroit Lions.
  • What type of training does Rebel Nell offer the women in terms of finances and business?
  • Amy discusses how Rebel Nell’s jewelry and gifts are made from repurposed material and even graffiti collected from the walls in Detroit.
  • What does it mean to make ethical and sustainable jewelry?
  • When you are wearing a Rebel Nell piece, you are wearing the hard work and power of a strong woman.
  • How can you purchase a piece of Rebel Nell jewelry if you are interested?
  • How does Rebel Nell make money as a non-profit?


Today’s Takeaway:

There are many causes dear to my heart, but few things give me greater satisfaction than seeing women helping other women. Whether it’s reaching a personal wellness goal or success in business, education, or community involvement, I’m thrilled to cheer on their accomplishments and celebrate their achievement. When we work together to support the success of others, amazing things can happen. Amy’s organization, Rebel Nell, is a perfect example of just how much can be accomplished when we come together to support each other. When Amy and her partner Diana came up with the idea of training women to create beautiful pieces of jewelry from discarded bits of graffiti, they had no idea of the impact their fledgling program would have. In addition to their goal of helping women find their way out of poverty, they also found that by teaching them a marketable skill and paying them a good wage, they were able to raise their self-esteem and confidence. By teaching other life skills such as financial management or providing housing assistance and ongoing educational opportunities, these women began to blossom with the increased support and attention. Sometimes all it takes to make a positive impact on someone’s life is to show you care and that you’re there to support their efforts. Remember that every day is a gift and the gift that we get from joining together to help another person can be a gift that keeps on giving. I’m Florine Mark and that’s “Today’s Takeaway.”




“From a very young age, I wanted to be the first female general manager of a major league baseball team.” — Amy


“My business partner and I realized that we have a shared love for Eleanor Roosevelt. She was incredible. A Civil rights advocate, women's rights advocate, a true pioneer.”


“Women are like teabags; put them in hot water, and they get strong.” — Eleanor Roosevelt


“You see the impact and the power of each piece of jewelry and how that resonates not only with the women that we employ, but with those customers and their stories.”


Brought to You By:

Gardner White Furniture


Mentioned in This Episode:

Rebel Nell