" Taking secondhand strings to provide second chances for survivors of addiction, domestic violence, and human trafficking."
You have probably seen our mission statement on the Home Page of our website, at the events we pop up at, and on our business cards, but what exactly does it mean?
It means that all of our products are made out of donated musical instrument strings, both played on and new, and every piece is handcrafted by a survivor of addiction, domestic violence, or human trafficking.
Employment through Strings for Hope provides our makers with supplemental income while they are in transition, teaches job skills, and serves as a form of art therapy. Because employment through Strings for Hope provides flexibility, our makers are able to focus on recovery while maintaining a source of income.
Our makers are our priority and are the reason we exist. In the past two years, we have been able to provide over $100,000 worth of supplemental income to our makers and work with about 10-12 makers at a time.
In order to become a maker, survivors must be apart of a transitional housing program and attend our jewelry making classes. By utilizing transitional facilities, we serve as an additional stepping stone for survivors while they are in transition.
It is our hope that as we continue to grow as a company, we can provide more women with opportunities while breaking stigmas surrounding recovery in the workplace.
It's no secret that self care is important for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. There are millions of podcasts and blog posts about what self care is and what it isn't. To some, self care may include bubble baths and facials; to others, self care involves cuddling with loved ones or creating financial budgets.
Regardless, how we learn to take care of ourselves can make a huge difference in our self care routines. Our makers in recovery had unique insight into the self care process. Here are 12 tips they have learned while in recovery.
1) Focus on yourself instead of what everyone else is doing.
Your life path is unique and specific to you, not to anyone else. Just because someone is moving a little faster or slower or is making different decisions, doesn't mean you have to change the direction you are going! Stay true to yourself and trust you are exactly where you need to be.
2) Learn how to be alone.
While being with others is helpful and important, it is also just as important to spend quality time alone to reflect and decompress without the added pressure of someone else's thoughts or opinions. At the end of the day, all you have is yourself, so learn how to be okay with you.
3) Stay open-minded.
Change can't happen without an open-mind. Allow yourself to be open to things that make you uncomfortable.
4) Be honest with how you're feeling.
Your feelings are 100% valid. Whether you're sad, mad, happy, or don't feel like doing something, it's your responsibility to stay true to yourself and honor your feelings. Not everyone will understand, and that's okay!
5) Accept help and ask for it.
Receiving help can be challenging, especially when you are used to fending for yourself. Remember that it is impossible for one person to know everything. You cannot move if you don't have the resources to do so. Remind yourself that everyone has to receive help sometimes; it's apart of the human experience.
6) Surround yourself with supportive people.
Support is key to moving forward, and your tribe reflects your vibe! Be sure to surround yourself with people who support you.
7) Take responsibility for yourself and your actions.
At the end of the day, nobody can force you to do anything. Your actions are yours and yours alone. Make sure you are making the best decisions for yourself without harming others.
8) Reflect, pray, meditate.
Spending time in reflection is a great way to relieve stress and sort through anything that may be holding you back or weighing you down. It's also a great way to plan for the future or create new goals. Try spending at least 15 minutes per day in reflection.
9) Enjoy your life!
Before you can make lasting change in your life, you must first begin to seek joy. You can find joy in little moments like a cup of coffee, a sunrise, or spending time with friends.
10) Say no!
While difficult to do, saying no is one of the best boundaries you can establish with yourself and others. When you say no, you give yourself the space to honor your feelings and what you truly want. Whether you try to fake it or not, people can tell when you don't want to be somewhere.
11) Forgive yourself.
We all make mistakes; it's apart of being human. No matter how many times you make the same mistake, give yourself grace and learn to practice forgiveness. Our mistakes can teach us valuable lessons when we are open.
12) Love yourself.
Self love is the most important kind of love. People love you the way that you love you. Setting boundaries, saying no, and being proud of the person you are, are all ways to love yourself. Loving yourself is the most important aspect of self care. When you love yourself, you take care of yourself.
If you try any of these self care tips, comment below!
Chrissi has been making jewelry for us for 5 months! We have loved watching her grow through the program and are so excited to share her experience with Strings.
Q: What were your first thoughts on Strings for Hope?
A: I thought it was really cool and creative and charitable. It combines two of my favorite things: helping people and creating sh*t!
Q: What have you learned thus far by being apart of the program?
A: Making jewelry is a really good outlet to relieve stress and anger. If I feel angry, I just make a bracelet. I have also learned that this is the first thing I haven't quit. I hate doing things I don't get the first time, but with this and recovery, I keep trying.
Q: What does hope mean to you?
A: Anytime someone asks me what a word means to me, my brain answers in 4 words to break it down... this probably comes from my writing nature. Hope to me means: heart open personified evaluation.
Q: What is your favorite part about String for Hope?
A: the women
Q: Where would you like to see the company go?
A: I would love to see more jewelry wraps with crystals and other designs.
Q: Where do you see yourself 2 years from now?
A: I see myself as a published writer.
Q: Share a quote from an original poem:
A: "In a world with unrelated reality stars, she just wants to be the narrative in a human interest documentary."
Meet Tori, Our Summer Marketing Intern:
Tori came to us for the summer from college in North Carolina! She is a Communications major with a minor in Marketing. This summer, Tori was in charge of updating our blog, revamping our Instagram and our website, and much more!
Q: What brought you to Strings for Hope?
A: Nashville has been a place I’ve wanted to live for a few years now. When looking for my summer internship ,I didn’t want to play it safe and go back home for the summer. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and try a new city. Strings for Hope's mission is so important, so I was happy to play any role I could to get it out into the world.
Q: What was your favorite project you worked on this summer?
A: A few projects really stood out to me this summer. One being, the Instagram. Getting to build up our following was one of my main goals this summer, and I am so happy I was able to help the company break 2,000 followers! Bringing more attention to the blog was also important to me. Seeing the amount of engagement has been really rewarding.
Q: What is one thing you will take away from this internship?
A: I gained confidence in my marketing abilities this summer. I know this is something I can do, but really seeing it come together this summer showed me what I am capable of.
Q: What is something you learned you can apply to the future?
A: One thing I have taken away from this experience is my ability to get things done. I feel as if I have learned way more about managing my time and applying my skills. I think I will be able to apply what I learned to any job in the future.
Q: Do you have any advice for college students looking for internships or jobs?
A: Take chances, move to new places, and give each job you have your all. No matter what job I have had throughout college or internships I have taken, I can say I gave each one my all and worked hard. The more chances you take, the more you learn. If I wouldn't have moved to Nashville, I wouldn’t have made friends through this job or have heard the stories of the incredible women working for Strings for Hope.
We love you, Tori!! Thank you for all of your hard work this summer. We will all miss you!
Our CEO and Director of Operations attended an event hosted by Zero Waste. The event was attended by companies that focus on sustainability in the local Nashville area. We learned so much about how our community is bettering our environment and how we can do more to help!
Here are some facts on guitar string break down!
We have a busy fall ahead of us! You can find us at these upcoming events:
The Tomato Festival: 8/10
The Food Truck Fest: 9/7
Light the Nations: 10/19
Centennial Craft Fest: 10/19 - 10/20
And great news, we have a new location for our kiosk. Keep an eye out for us in the Gulch coming soon!
Sarah is our Director of Outreach and Operations. Sarah started working for us while she was in transitional housing and has since transitioned into working for us full-time! Each week, Sarah works closely with the women in the facilities we work with and is an amazing asset to our company!
Q: How did you feel at first about working for Strings for Hope?
A: I knew a couple of women who were making guitar string jewelry, and I always thought it was so cool. When the opportunity presented itself for me to get involved, I was so stoked! I went to the first class and immediately knew this was something that I wanted to do.
Q: Do you feel as if working for Strings for Hope helped you while going through a recovery program?
A: Absolutely. It afforded me the opportunity to be able to focus more on my recovery and my children. Also, the act of actually making the jewelry is very therapeutic for me. It relaxes me and helps me to focus on the present.
Q: You have been working for us for a while now, how do you now feel about the company?
A: Yes, I have been working for Strings for Hope for almost 2 years now. I started making jewelry while I was in a transitional living home. I was promoted after a year, and I now get to work with other women who are in a recovery program. I have been exactly where they are, and I love watching them change and grow. I've watched women graduate programs, get their own homes, regain custody of their children, obtain a driver's license, get their GED, and just become productive members of society. It's truly a beautiful thing to be a part of.
Q: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the company?
A: I love Strings for Hope. I love our team. It's a small company that strives to make a big difference, so we all tend to wear a lot of hats. I think the biggest thing I have seen is our growth as a company. We have started to do bigger/more events. We are partnering with more companies and individuals who have like- minded goals. Our staff has more than doubled since I have been a full-time employee. We are employing more of the women in the facilities full- time. All of this means that we are making a bigger impact. I think as long as we continue to keep the mission our first priority, we will keep growing. The more we grow, the more lives we can touch.
Q: What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone considering utilizing Strings for Hope’s program?
A: I understand how difficult it can be to balance everything that is so important in early recovery. Strings for Hope gives women the opportunity to do just that. We are adults, and we have to have an income to survive, but in early recovery, there are so many things that are equally as important. It can be so overwhelming, and I truly believe this is a huge factor in relapse. We provide a way to earn an income on an extremely flexible schedule so that things like meetings, therapy, and networking can still be a priority. If you get the chance to participate in Strings for Hope, absolutely take it.
Abbey recently graduated from Belmont University with a degree in Entrepreneurship. As a member of the Strings for Hope team, Abbey’s goal is to expand our brand to its fullest. We couldn’t be more excited to have her be apart of our team!
Q: How did you become involved with Strings for Hope?
A: I met Emily at an event at my previous workplace, we got to talking, and I got asked to intern. My internship started in January, and when I graduated, I got to become full- time.
Q: Where do you see this company going within the next few years?
A: I definitely see us expanding and would love to see us move towards working with more musicians in an effort to become apart of tour merch. I also see our brand taking the initiative on sustainability and becoming a staple piece throughout Music City. I'm also very excited about employing more women to continue to create positive impact.
Q: What big ideas do you have for us?
A: Partnerships and getting us into venues. New locations for pop-ups to utilize our #followthestrings. Overall, just implementing better structure so we are a well-oiled machine so we can sustain growth.
Q: What is one thing you have learned since joining the team?
A: I feel like I'm learning something new every day, especially when it comes to structure and accountability, not only with myself but with employees in general. One thing I've learned- it's f***ing hard to run a business. Building a startup is not easy, and problems arise that no textbook could have taught me.
Q: What tips do you have for recent graduates when looking for jobs?
A: Don’t be afraid to do a job that you might not have initially thought about! You will always be learning, but also look for a job you can become passionate about. When you take a job you are passionate about, it never feels like work.
Q: What is one thing Strings for Hope has given you?
A: Hope. It's really awesome to be apart of a company that really cares about what they're doing and wants to make an impact. I'm hopeful for not only my generation but for other businesses to do the same. I think we are setting a new standard for how businesses should be run.
MEET EMILY WINTERS:
Q: Why did you choose to take over Strings for Hope?