Reggie Booker was excited to return to the blue highways. These journeys had helped him discover his real self. He decided to ask a young rising star in his financial organization to join him. LaShanda Morris had come from a background that was the opposite of Reggie’s. A child of a single mother growing up in an inner-city slum, LaShanda was not expected to be where she was today.
On this trip, Reggie was asked by Adam Steele to focus on a question that had been bugging him. “All of us have found vibrant entrepreneurial businesses in the most out-of-the-way places. I’d like you to find out how that happened,” Adam Steele said. “Maybe you can start with Repurpose, a business that just made the Inc 100 list.”
As they arrived at Repurpose, Reggie and LaShanda were met by Ginger Joyce, the CEO of Repurpose. “I’m so glad you could come today,” said Ginger. “It just happens that Ainsley Thruckmorton is here. He is part of our success story.”
As Ginger explained, Repurpose is a company that takes discarded items and develops new uses for their component parts. They had patents on several of the repurposed products.
“I want to ask Ainsley to tell you how we became connected,” Ginger said. “Without him, there would be no Repurpose.”
“Let me start by saying I’m not proud of my past. I was a trust fund baby living a privileged life. I got involved in protests against Wall Street. I was on the front lives of every social cause movement. I still believe in fighting for those things, but I realized that the protests and actions I was involved in were going nowhere. A small group of my fellow privileged colleagues decided to take our activism a different direction. We decided to focus our efforts on direct action rather than symbolic action.”
“We formed a Community Action Network where we would identify projects which could revitalize places that America forgot. Some causes were new businesses like Repurpose. In other cases, we were able to improve living conditions. If there was a genuine need, we worked to find the resources to meet that need.”
“We are hands-on. We don’t view our role as being advisors but part of the action team. As Ginger will tell you, I’ve been a part of almost everything Repurpose does. I’ve even become a great welder.”
What followed was a serious of questions about the Community Action Network and Repurpose. For Reggie and LaShanda, the stories of the two organizations was a wonderful testament to giving – not just money but time, expertise, and hope.
As LaShanda and Reggie returned home, LaShanda posed a question to Reggie: “What might it take to extend what we learned from these blue highways journeys to the mean streets where I grew up?” Reggie was intrigued by the possibilities for what their organization could do, but also what he and others who had privileged backgrounds could do.
* * *
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others.”
– Charles Dickens