Marginalized News Commentary for Changemakers

Archive for July, 2013

Breaking the Poverty Mindset

Insight, investment and impact are critical components of altering the poverty mindset. It is challenging for some Java Hope students to abandon learned behaviors and embrace new unfamiliar norms. Lifestyle changes are uncomfortable but required to escape a poverty environment.

Clyde Taulbert, the author of “Who Owns the Icehouse,” delineates the steps needed to help adult learners create personal economic change. The Kaufman Foundation partnered with Mr. Taulbert to create a powerful and sustainable program empowering students to create long-term wealth as entrepreneurs.

The objective of the program is using poverty triggers to alter and overcome barriers to prosperity. Some triggers are lifelong learned responses to poverty while other behaviors are progressive and adaptable to new norms. Cultural environment plays a major role in behavior modification.

Clyde Taulbert grew up in the Mississippi. At the tender age of 10, Clyde began working with his Grandfather (a businessman) delivering blocks of ice to his customers. The Grandfather used their time together to mentor Clyde. He taught him the value of money and ownership. During the route, he strongly instructed Clyde to amass assets because they appreciate and increase one’s net worth. He also admonished Clyde to choose his friends wisely. He believed association brings about assimilation. Clyde was like a sponge; he absorbed every word and stored it safely in his subconscious youthful mind.

Clyde had ample opportunity to ‘follow the crowd’ during his tour of duty in the military. However he chose instead to ‘listen and follow his Grandfather’s voice.’ He secured employment in the banking industry and later purchased several banks. Clyde credits his entrepreneurial success to the strong mentorship received from his Grandfather. Despite his challenges as an African American, he successfully navigated the treacherous business landscape to become a powerful resource for others to emulate.

Today Clyde Taulbert is a very successful African American businessman. He used the entrepreneurial mindset to escape poverty and create a world of abundance seldom enjoyed by people of color. Clyde Taulbert, along with Gary G. Schoeniger, the CEO of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI) crafted eight life lessons describing timeless examples of the power of entrepreneurship to overcome adversity and achieve independence regardless of one’s circumstances (Clifton Taulbert, 2010).

Java Hope is proud to have a licensed ‘Who Owns the Icehouse’ Facilitator as a staff and board member to help our students transform their lives by following the eight life principals delineated in this book. We are confident our ladies will benefit greatly from this program and become successful businesswomen.

Clifton Taulbert, G. S. (2010). Who Owns the Ice House? Cleveland: ELI Press LLC.


Pure Michigan Social Entreprenurship Challenge

Java Hope won first place in the Pure Michigan Social Entreprenurship Challenge on June 18th. The challenge was to speak to an audience without a prompt for five minutes. I did not get ‘brain freeze’ and completed my memorized speech flawlessly!

The real challenge for me was memorizing my speech without a prompt. After I completely memorized my investor pitch, my coach changed the orientation of the speech the day before the event. I had to memorize the new speech format shortly before the event. This was the real challenge! Fortunately I succeeded thanks to my cell phone. I used my phone to record my speech. I played the recording endlessly while sleeping and during my drive up to Lansing. It really worked! No brain freeze!

I will participate in the fall event and once again use my cell phone to help my ‘challenged’ memory. No more sweaty palms!

Java Hope empowers marginalized women to own and operate a coffee cart business. Please visit for more information.

UPDATE: I was selected as one of the  first Michigan Corps Social Enterprise Fellows! Very honored to participate in this program.


Java Hope Marketing Class

Java Hope Class

Java Hope Class

I have enjoyed teaching this class. The ladies are very astute in crafting their market strategies. They are very aware how retailers entice customers to purchase their products. They carefully study the advertiser’s media content in magazines, on television and on the Internet. They understand how advertisers use marketing tactics to buyers to purchase their products.

We recently visited a local library to learn how to conduct research on the coffee industry. Unfortunately, the public library lack the scholarly resources needed to complete their marketing plan. The students were frustrated because they could not find suitable content for their proposal.

I contacted the library at Ross Business School (University of Michigan). I explained I wanted to bring a class to conduct business research for a few hours. They schedule the appointment.

However much to my delight, the ladies texted me from Washtenaw Community College and said they were at the library and the Librarian was helping them find everything they needed! That was at 9AM. I am very proud of them to take the initiative, create teams and work on their project without my assistance. Of course, I must grade their project. But being pro-active for this sector is a huge step toward self-sufficiency.

When I arrived at 11:00 AM, they exuded confidence and credited the Librarian (setting nearby) with helping them find everything needed to write a winning marketing plan. I commended them. I was so elated that I was close to tears!

Today I am proud to announce that my class is in its 4th month. They will graduate in September and begin working at various coffee cart locations. They are very excited and motivated.

       When I started the Java Hope Project, my critics told me I would never get pass the first week. They said this sector was uncommitted and disinterested in making a life in the business arena.
Serving Hope In Every Cup!

I cannot articulate my feelings in helping these women become economically empowered. Just watching Mother and daughter (we have two teams) work side by side is impressive. I am so inspired by the ladies tenacity. I don’t see this as work, but my life’s mission.


Java Hope Class

Java Hope Class

The women are learning financial literacy.

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