We had the good fortune of connecting with Desiree Cook and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Desiree, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Through my lived experiences of 4 of my children placed in foster care due to my drug addiction, incarceration, and homelessness. After reuniting with my children I decided to remove the barcode stigma, and bandaid that hovers over our underserved youth. By providing customization first with hygiene new, full size according to age, gender, and ethnicity to fit their unique needs and improve school attendance, academic success, and combat bullying. Hygiene is directly related to self-esteem, and confidence. We also refill every 6 weeks. This innovative program has never been done in the country.

Our latest project is building Tucson’s first Tiny Home community for our underserved young adults 18-22 who aged out of foster care, and or experiencing homelessness. We not only provide housing but life skills, self development, and ownership. I Am You 360 will save half their rent for 3 years in escrow and at the end of the program they will be able to purchase their first starter home. To end homelessness.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I realized that my own struggles, barriers, was not an isolated case. After being released from prison April 1st 2002, got married 8/9/2002 and right after reuniting with my children. I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless, and a beacon of hope and light.

After becoming a licensed stylist in 2011 I noticed in my community so many foster care children. I felt then and now children in foster care should never look like their circumstance. It became important to advocate the foster care crisis, ensuring our underserved youth have better outcomes, and change their narrative.

My passion, resilience and lived experiences truly helped build an innovative, unique movement to ensure our underserved youth are treated with dignity and feel dignified.

I’ve learned not to subject myself to distractions as it will lessen your impact for those that need us the most.

I want the world to know that its necessary to see our foster care and homeless youth through a clear lens. These children, teens are in this situation due to no fault of their own. Someone they were suppose to trust to take care of them drop the ball. Covid 19 increase the crisis locally and nationally. Due to increased drug addiction, mental health, loss of employment, and incarcerated. Our I Am Somebody movement is to not only own your truth, speak your truth, to break generational cycles and create generational change for direct and long term impact.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The spots I love and would visit would be Zeman’s food, Kens Hardward BBQ, Istanbul, and go downtown to take in the cultural of Tucson. As well as 4th Ave to the local shops. A must visit is Mount Lemmon. Hush Lounge 2nd Sunday Poetry, as well as just a good place to free your mind. Oh and the Playground downtown.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I Am You 360 would like to give a shout to our Tucson community for investing and supporting our I Am Somebody movement. As well as Mike Rowe, Ellen Degeneres, and Tiffany Haddish for spotlighting our unique work on a National level.

Website: www.iamyou360.org

Instagram: i_am_you_360

Facebook: i am you 360

Youtube: iamyou360

Image Credits
I Am You 360 Small Home Experience 3D Rendering by EMV Design Ellen Degeneres Show Bio by Tayzha Taylor

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