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Team members: Row 1 (l-r): Andrea Cooper, Roxanne James, Allison Mertens, Chris Briddell
Row 2 (l-r): Gary Clary, Kevin Estep
Row 3 (l-r): Jermaine Taylor, Jan Collins, Greg Dover

The Reclaimed capstone project aims to work alongside Soteria Community Development Corporation, headed by DLI alum Jerry Blassingame, and particularly the program of Soteria at Work (SaW). SaW provides opportunities for previously incarcerated and low-income citizens to learn and apply job skills, earn money, and improve long-term job prospects by offering deconstruction and reclamation services. SaW dismantles condemned structures and reclaims and repurposes the materials for furniture, art, and architectural salvage for hotels, restaurants, builders, businesses, and homeowners. As SaW states, “If you can Pin it (on Pinterest), we can build it!”

The Reclaimed capstone project will offer a triad of opportunities for SaW:

  1. A recurring financial literacy course: Representatives from local TD Bank branches will offer monthly courses for participants from SaW and Soteria CDC, teaching financial management skills that will assist participants as they re-enter the workforce. These courses will begin in February 2020.
  2. A business and marketing plan for SaW: This plan includes identifying target customers and partnerships, creating a strategy and recommendations for digital communication (social media, website, etc.), signage, and events to increase the organization’s visibility in the community. The plan was delivered to SaW in November 2019, and they will begin implementing the recommendations as soon as possible.
  3. A showcase of SaW’s products: The Reclaimed project leaders are planning and coordinating a networking event in the first quarter of 2020 at McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture’s space (the reclaimed Claussen Bakery) on Augusta Street. Local builders, renovators, interior designers, architects, and other future clientele and/or partners will hear from Jerry Blassingame about SaW’s work and see (and maybe buy!) finished products. McMillan Pazdan Smith has also offered to showcase SaW’s products in the space for a longer period of time in a gallery-like display.
  • The showcase of Soteria at Work (SaW) products was held on Thursday, January 30, 2020 at McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture’s space. The Reclaimed group members shared their story about this project and Jerry Blassingame, Executive Director of SaW. Click here for photos from this event.