In this week's episode of "Proud to Work in Cannabis," host Karson Humiston, CEO & Founder of Vangst, and Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Co-Founder of Urban Upbound, discuss the grand opening of Urban Weeds, their newest dispensary in Queens, New York.
Breaking Cycles of Poverty
Urban Upbound, founded by Bishop Mitchell Taylor, is a beacon of hope in addressing poverty in public housing. Their mission focuses on empowering residents in public housing neighborhoods to break free from the cycle of poverty by offering essential tools and resources for economic mobility and self-sufficiency.
Understanding the Root Challenges
Bishop Mitchell Taylor, shaped by his father's ministry aiding people in social and economic crises, recognized the dire circumstances in public housing. The statistics were startling: an average income of $22,000 per year, almost half relying on welfare, and only 3% holding a bachelor's degree.
A Community-Driven Approach
Urban Upbound's distinct approach was building change from within these communities, leveraging existing networks of resident, religious, and business leaders. Their focus was on empowering residents rather than merely providing handouts, and offering programs for economic mobility and self-reliance.
Empowerment through Diverse Programs
Their comprehensive approach spans various areas, including business and career development, financial counseling, youth support, tax preparation, and mental health services. Urban Upbound actively collaborates with partners, allowing them to scale their impact and create lasting change.
Navigating the Cannabis Industry
Urban Upbound's journey into the cannabis market exemplifies its innovation and adaptability. The organization capitalized on opportunities to diversify its revenue streams, demonstrating its agility in aligning their mission with an emerging market.
Risks and Success: An Entrepreneurial Mindset
The episode illustrates the risks the organization embraced in negotiating property purchases and navigating regulatory hurdles. Fueled by an entrepreneurial mindset, the willingness to take calculated risks became integral to Urban Upbound's success.
Customer-Centric Approach and Job Creation
Urban Upbound's cannabis store, Urban Weeds, prioritizes exceptional customer service and an immersive experience. The emphasis on personalized assistance and merchandise ensures every visitor feels valued. Additionally, the expansion of Urban Weeds presents employment opportunities in an inclusive environment.
Final Thoughts: A Catalyst for Change
Urban Upbound's story underscores the importance of community-driven initiatives and a holistic approach to address poverty. Their journey exemplifies how innovative thinking, a proactive mindset, and a strong sense of purpose can uplift communities, providing a blueprint for meaningful change.
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