Air date: January 19, 2012
Veronika Scott was a student at the College for Creative Studies when she came up with a great idea…a wearable sleeping bag for the homeless. Veronika: it’s a coat that traps body heat during the day and then becomes a waterproof, self-heated sleeping bag at night. Veronika designed the product, produced it and even had her friends test it out one freezing night. Veronika: We ended up sleeping out in the snow. It was 17 degrees out. Mitch Albom: …and? Veronika: it was fine. Now the challenge is to manufacture the product called Element S, right here in Detroit. Mitch Albom: This place here is going to be your warehouse where you are literally going to be employing people to make these portable shelters for the homeless. Veronika: Yep, this is it. A bright young mind with a bright new idea. Veronika did try New York City for a brief stretch, but the allure of helping the needy drew her home. Veronika: I couldn’t go back, and couldn’t do that no matter how much it would be pay above what I am getting now. There is so much that this invests into my life, that I am not just giving back, this is immensely giving back to me. Her plan is to employ Detroit’s neediest citizens in helping to produce these multipurpose garments. Veronika: The goal for the first year is, we are going to build them and if there is a shelter, if there is a soup kitchen, something, if any organization is distributing to the homeless population, we’re giving them for free. People are around that are just getting completely passed by. How do you close your eyes to something like that? One great idea, one determined entrepreneur. Veronika Scott helps to redesign The Heart of Detroit.