MADE by DWC is dedicated to empowering homeless and low-income women to overcome barriers to traditional and non-traditional employment, cultivate local and sustainable product design and creation and build community in downtown Los Angeles.
Created by the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) in 2010, MADE by DWC works to break the cycles of chronic unemployment and homelessness by empowering women to discover talents and develop skills through vocational opportunities that also generate economic and social capital to support programs at DWC. The Downtown Women’s Center is a nonprofit organization that provides permanent housing, supportive social services and a safe and healthy community for homeless and low-income women in downtown LA’s Skid Row community.
Through creative workshops and employment programs, MADE by DWC provides a space for women who’ve experienced homelessness to express themselves creatively, build confidence and develop the skills for meaningful work opportunities.
“I was staying at a shelter when I learned about the services in downtown Los Angeles. I didn’t have a job and wanted to find work, so when someone told me about a work program at the Downtown Women’s Center, I wanted to try it,” said Alisa S., a participant at the Downtown Women’s Center. “I first came here to develop work skills. A staff member at the Center told me about MADE by DWC. Now I’ve gone through two job readiness programs, and I love being able to develop skills and be creative. In one year, I want to find my own apartment, my own job and be able to pay my own bills. I want to continue working creatively as an artist.”
Beyond providing employment and skill development opportunities for the women DWC serves, running a social enterprise benefits the organization’s work and mission because it engages DWC with the larger community. Working with artists, volunteers, organizations and businesses throughout Los Angeles and beyond allows the organization to continually expand the MADE by DWC community and, in turn, make an impact on a larger scale.
MADE by DWC’s relationship with SEA and the LA Chapter has greatly benefited its program and business development as the organization navigates the challenges of this impactful business model. SEA members have shared their personal experiences and lessons learned, creating opportunities for shared success.
By developing the talents and skills of women who have experienced homelessness, MADE by DWC is empowering them to create change in their own lives. To learn more about this social enterprise, visit their website and SEA member profile.