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Exploring Life & Business with Desiree Cook of I Am You 360

Today we’d like to introduce you to Desiree Cook.  

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My lived experiences from trauma experienced at 17 seeing my father take his last breath from cancer led me down a dark path of a teen mom, drug addiction at 19 years old, survivor of domestic violence, low self-esteem, and four of children placed in foster care by age 27, and incarceration. During my time of incarceration from 199-2002, I was determined to leave better than the way I went in. After reuniting with my children in 2003 it was important to create a healthy relationship, and break the generational cycle of own of children, I realized there are so many families broken and crisis of increased numbers of children placed in foster care. I always believed children in foster care should not look like their circumstances. 

So, I decided to start a hygiene program to customize their needs according to age, gender, and ethnicity, and refill every 6 weeks with new, full-size hygiene and haircare There is no one size fits all for hygiene. I Am You 360 has revolutionized having access to your unique hygiene needs and now serves over 4,000 youth in foster care from infancy to adults. As well support homeless youth. 

This improves personal appearance, school attendance, academic success and combats bullying. 

Our award-winning program can be replicated anywhere in the country and is trademarked to protect our brand. 

I Am You 360 believes in empowering the whole person. We believe it was necessary to unmute our underserved population in order to see their self-worth; we developed a copyrighted curriculum called I Am Somebody focused on self-awareness, self-esteem, and positive thinking. To give them the ability to speak life to self and others. 

Lastly, I Am You 360 has developed a safe housing model called the Small Home Experience (Trademarked) for 18-22 aging out of the foster care system and or experiencing homelessness. These are the ones slipping through the cracks of society; it’s our mission to sew them back into the fabric of our community with self-development, life skills, and homeownership. To never be homeless again. Creating lasting change for generations to come. I Am You 360 is building Tucson’s first tiny home community. 

I Am You 360 has been highlighted by Mike Rowe, Ellen Degeneres aired 11/5/21, and Better Business Bureau. Along with a host of local news and local newspaper articles spotlighting our unique work. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been always a smooth road. Since I Am You 360 mission and vision are the first of it’s kind. It took a while for people to see why customized hygiene is so important. Even though there is no one size fits all for hygiene. As founder and CEO in the beginning I had to use my own funding to ensure all deadlines were met. To be honest, it wasn’t until Covid came along the lightbulb of having access to your human basic needs is necessary. to protect them against the invisible enemy. The CDC confirmed our work. 

So, funding has been an issue from time to time. 

We believe awareness of the national crisis equals funding. Many people closed their eyes to the crisis of foster care, and that 2,300 age out each year with no cheerleader, social and emotional skills, and life skills. 

Our hope is to raise $800,000 more dollars to complete our housing model for selected young adults to move in by Thanksgiving. 

We’ve been impressed with I Am You 360, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I Am You 360 started in my living room November 2013 a true grassroots organization. Become a 501c3 in July 2014. 

Our unique work has never been done in the country. It is our commitment to unearth the concrete path that has been laid for our underserved youth/young adults and plant seeds of hope, and watches our youth grow and become fruitful. 

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
Our unique programs Hygiene Dispensary, I Am Somebody curriculum, and Safe Housing Model to be replicated nationally. Drug addiction, mental health, Covid, and incarceration has impacted children nationally where many are placed in foster care or homeless. 

Pricing:

  • $800,000

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.iamyou360.org
  • Instagram: i_am_you_360
  • Facebook: iamyou360
  • Youtube: I Am You 360


Image Credits

Ellen Degeneres
3D Rendering
EMV Design

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