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Catalysts

How can we make progress on a problem as huge and seemingly intractable as poverty? How can we not? There is no silver bullet to eradicating poverty, but all across the country, a diverse array of social entrepreneurs are doing their part to take on this monumental challenge, building amazing organizations that are having a real impact in their communities. Catalysts, a Freethink original series presented by Stand Together, will take viewers to the frontlines of the fight against poverty to understand the challenges we face and meet the people behind some of the most innovative solutions to this complicated issue.

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Catalysts
Introducing Catalysts
Introducing Catalysts
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Catalysts
Introducing Catalysts
It’s time to change how we make change. Join us as we meet inspiring social entrepreneurs who are exploring bold new solutions to big social problems.
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February 19, 2019

How can we make progress on a problem as huge and seemingly intractable as poverty? How can we not? There is no silver bullet to eradicating poverty, but all across the country, a diverse array of social entrepreneurs are doing their part to take on this monumental challenge, building amazing organizations that are having a real impact in their communities. Catalysts, a Freethink original series presented by Stand Together,...

Catalysts
OGU: Original Gangsters United Ending Gang Violence
Can Former Bloods and Crips Unite to Break the Cycle of Violence?
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Catalysts
OGU: Original Gangsters United Ending Gang Violence
For the children of Dallas, these ex gang leaders may be their only chance.
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September 10, 2019

What do you get when former Bloods and Crips gang leaders come together? Original Gangsters United, a pathway to ending gang opposition, promoting peace, and saving younger generations from senseless violence. Antong Lucky is a former Bloods gang leader in Dallas, Texas. Like most children, Antong never aspired to be a part of a gang or to end up in prison. But sadly, many communities affected by peer pressure and gang violence leave kids with no choice. When Antong left prison, he began working to bring opposing Dallas gang leaders together to put an end to gang violence. And it worked.

Catalysts
A School Made for Homeless Children
A School Made for Homeless Children
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Catalysts
A School Made for Homeless Children
When a child faces chaos at home, it's impossible to learn. This school is doing whatever it takes to help homeless students and their families create better lives.
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August 28, 2019

When you think of homelessness, you typically don't picture homeless children. However, every year, approximately 2.5 million children experience homelessness. Homeless children can't learn when they don't know where their next meal is coming from, or what is waiting for them at home. They often struggle in public schools where they feel out of place, or unable to keep up because they've missed schooling in the past....

Catalysts
The Lost Art of Apprenticeship
The Lost Art of Apprenticeship
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Catalysts
The Lost Art of Apprenticeship
After his dad died, he struggled in high school and ended up getting a DUI. Stuck in dead-end jobs, he responded to a nonprofit’s post for free skilled labor training - and his whole life changed.
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August 14, 2019

The Master’s Apprentice is an organization that recruits young people from rough backgrounds - and gives them the skills to find quality careers in the trades. “There’s a huge gap between youth looking for an opportunity... and businesses looking for quality employees.” It’s been a problem for a long time. Urban youth without college educations find few opportunities, and often get stuck in menial jobs. On the other...

Catalysts
Racing out of Homelessness
Racing out of Homelessness
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Catalysts
Racing out of Homelessness
This running club that meets at 5:45am is helping the homeless transform their lives.
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July 31, 2019

It’s 5am in New York City. Most people aren’t awake yet; a few might still be up from the night before. But a group of people with a special organization is gathering for a morning run. Back on My Feet is a nonprofit community that’s helping people struggling with homelessness or recovering from drug addiction begin their journey towards self-sufficiency: employment, housing, and a sustainable income. While members might...

Catalysts
A Game-Changer for Chronic Homelessness
A Game-Changer for Chronic Homelessness
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Catalysts
A Game-Changer for Chronic Homelessness
He turned a food truck for the homeless into a thriving 51-acre community.
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March 29, 2019

Mobile Loaves & Fishes is an organization with a new approach to tackling homelessness - putting community first. Their Community First! Village provides affordable, long-term housing for the chronically homeless. They find through housing and a community that emphasizes respect and relationships, chronically homeless individuals are able to finally heal from trauma and begin to thrive, work, and live better lives....

Catalysts
Can the Apartment Industry Help Solve Homelessness?
Can the Apartment Industry Help Solve Homelessness?
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Catalysts
Can the Apartment Industry Help Solve Homelessness?
Meet the innovative group connecting people with housing — and a job that can pay for it.
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March 21, 2019

Over 80% of people experiencing homelessness are "situationally homeless" -- losing their housing after a lost job or unforeseen incident. This can spiral quickly into other issues that make it difficult to recover. Shelters to Shutters is an innovative organization that identified a solution that addresses both needs and connects individuals experiencing homelessness to both an entry level job and an apartment in order to...

Catalysts
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
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Catalysts
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Take a look inside a town built for foster families
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May 1, 2019

Peppers Ranch is a community of a dozen families raising at least five foster kids. Is it a model for providing better foster care to more kids? In this episode of Catalysts, we visit Peppers Ranch and meet some of the people and families who call it home. We talk to foster child Scott, who was close to aging out of foster care but unprepared to live on his own. We also meet Tonya Ratcliff, a mother of 13 children who felt...

Catalysts
A Home Helping Teen Moms Break the Cycle of Generational Poverty
A Home Helping Teen Moms Break the Cycle of Generational Poverty
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Catalysts
A Home Helping Teen Moms Break the Cycle of Generational Poverty
Hope House in Denver is changing lives for generations to come.
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June 19, 2019

Teen pregnancy is highly linked to poverty and lower educational outcomes. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by age 22, compared with 90% of women without a teen birth. This is a vulnerable population who often have nowhere to turn. Early and effective intervention can give mothers the tools to continue their education and become self-sufficient, giving them a path to self-sufficiency changes...

Catalysts
Stopping Gang Violence with Love
Stopping Gang Violence with Love
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Catalysts
Stopping Gang Violence with Love
This nonprofit is doing the impossible - finding the 10% of gang members responsible for 90% of the crime, and leading them to successful, positive lives.
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July 10, 2019

“Society gave up on us” - but this community didn’t. Meet UTEC, the organization breaking the cycle of recidivism by helping hardened previously imprisoned gang members walk a better path in Lowell, Massachusetts. UTEC - or United Teen Equality Center - is a non-profit dedicated to stopping gang violence. Obviously, it’s not easy - in Lowell, MA there are over 25 gangs operating, and many gang members have been in prison...

More on Social Entrepreneurship

Catalysts
This Nonprofit Gives Bikes and People New Life
This Nonprofit Gives Bikes and People New Life
Catalysts
This Nonprofit Gives Bikes and People New Life
Working Bikes has spent nearly two decades rescuing bicycles from the waste cycle to give people purpose, access to jobs, and independence.
October 3, 2019

Working Bikes has spent nearly two decades rescuing bicycles from the waste cycle to give people purpose, access to jobs, and independence.

CATALYSTS
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
CATALYSTS
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
Hordes of bright orange lifejackets are strewn across the rocky beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. Discarded...
By Teresa Carey
September 20, 2019

Hordes of bright orange lifejackets are strewn across the rocky beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. Discarded after a perilous journey at sea, they exemplify the risk that refugees are willing to take in search of a better life. Men, women, and children arrive at Lesbos by the hundreds — sometimes, as many as 500 in one day. Many come across the Mediterranean, where war or other factors threaten a safe way of life. Now,...

Catalysts
This Social Enterprise is Cleaning Up Chicago One Street at a Time
Transitional employment
Catalysts
This Social Enterprise is Cleaning Up Chicago One Street at a Time
This nonprofit is not only polishing the streets of Chicago, but providing a "clean slate" for its interns. Those with a criminal background, dealing with addiction recovery, or domestic violence, are welcome to take part in job training and counseling.
September 30, 2019

It's a muggy Wednesday morning in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, the temperature and humidity rising before the sun. Lena, decked out in her eye-catching slate shirt and chartreuse vest, leans slightly out into the busy rush-hour traffic, sweeping litter (wrappers, cups, lots of cigarette butts) from the gutter into her dustpan. On the sidewalk, she empties her collection into a cart. As she moves down the street,...

Cafe Momentum
This Restaurant Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
This Restaurant Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
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Cafe Momentum
This Restaurant Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
Cafe Momentum offers an alternative to the revolving doors at Texas jails.
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November 5, 2018

Chef Chad Houser was a rising star in the Dallas restaurant scene, but after volunteering with kids in the criminal justice system, he felt a calling to do more. He gave up his job to start Cafe Momentum, a restaurant staffed by kids from the criminal justice system. They’re given year-long paid internships where they are taught the skills to succeed in restaurants and society. It’s his way of trying to fix the problems...

The Phoenix
How The Phoenix Is Fighting Addiction with Fitness
How The Phoenix Is Fighting Addiction with Fitness
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The Phoenix
How The Phoenix Is Fighting Addiction with Fitness
Meet the group that is helping thousands of people transform their lives and unlock their potential.
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September 17, 2018

Meet The Phoenix, the free sober active community that’s using fitness to change how we treat addiction. Scott Strode, the founder, got sober with the help of a gym and wanted to help others with their recovery. Now thousands of people are transforming their lives and unlocking their potential. In doing so they are challenging the stigma around drug rehabilitation by publicly embracing their sobriety and talking about it...

Hudson Link
For People in Prison, a Second Chance to Give Back
For People in Prison, a Second Chance to Give Back
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Hudson Link
For People in Prison, a Second Chance to Give Back
50% of people released from prison return within three years. This program is changing that.
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April 17, 2018

Nearly 50% of people released from prison return within three years. But less than 1% of graduates from Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison ever return. By offering college degree programs, their mission is to give people the tools to turn their lives around and give back to their communities when released. Freethink is proud to present this story in partnership with Stand Together. For more information on other...

Building Community
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
Building Community
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with...
July 27, 2019

Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with employment barriers, whether due to prior convictions, medical concerns, poverty, homelessness, or any other issues which make gainful employment difficult.

Catalysts
The Crib: A Place to Call Home
The Crib: A Place to Call Home
Catalysts
The Crib: A Place to Call Home
For young LGBTQ adults, this is the shelter that accepts many people that are too often turned away.
August 29, 2019

Every night, young adults pass through the basement door of the Lakeview Lutheran Church, close to the heart of Boystown, the gay neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. Like many institutions in Lakeview, the church offers a place specifically welcoming to the LGBTQ community. These young adults are taking refuge at The Crib, an overnight emergency shelter for people aged 18 to 24 who find themselves temporarily homeless. Founded by The Night Ministry in 2011, The Crib is one of the few places in the city where young LGBTQ adults, especially those of color, can find housing and community with others their age in similar situations.

Row New York
Helping Kids Through Rowing
Helping Kids Through Rowing
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Row New York
Helping Kids Through Rowing
Inside the surprising program helping disadvantaged kids in New York thrive.
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August 14, 2018

In the middle of New York City sits an unexpected sight: a boathouse; and inside is an unexpected group of rowers: middle and high schoolers from across the city’s fragile communities. Every year, in this place, thousands of kids show up to find something in themselves — whether strength, confidence, discipline, or community — that can make a difference in their lives. Row New York is one of the most successful after-school...

Coalfield Development
Rebuilding Coal Country
Rebuilding Coal Country
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Coalfield Development
Rebuilding Coal Country
Meet the nonprofit bringing jobs back to coal country.
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August 20, 2018

Coalfield Development is a nonprofit on a mission to unlock the resources and potential of coal country. Partnering with local entrepreneurs, they've helped launch six new businesses and trained hundreds of workers across Appalachia. They provide education and training for unemployed workers, from college courses to trade skills, and partner with businesses to help them succeed on the job. The coal jobs might not be coming...

Headstrong
How Veterans Help Each Other Heal Through Therapy
How Veterans Help Each Other Heal Through Therapy
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Headstrong
How Veterans Help Each Other Heal Through Therapy
Headstrong believes that trauma is treatable.
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October 10, 2018

Veterans returning home with PTSD often face many of the same stigmas around getting help that civilians face and aren’t always able to access the care they need to recover. But Headstrong, a nonprofit founded by veterans to help other veterans, believes that trauma is treatable. They provide veterans with free access to quality therapists who offer them the tailored support they really need to get better and adjust to life...