Application: Columbia Graphics & Printing
In my work in mental health, I have realized that many peers, (people with mental health issues), are stuck due to barriers to employment. Many peers with a diagnosis have highly developed creativity due to overwhelming life circumstances. Columbia Graphics & Printing seeks to tap into the creativity of peers, by empowering them with laptops, software and education in order to employ them as graphic artists. Peers would learn the tools of graphic art so they can freelance in the community and feed print work to Columbia Graphics & Printing. Ideally there would be around 40 peers all over Virginia creating print-ready graphics. Each peer would either sell their work or be partnered with a sales associate in their region. Marketing would be focused on the Community Service Boards (CSBs) across Virginia (there are 40). Each CSB region would have a peer nearby who would supply their graphic needs and promote the work of the local peer. These contacts would be the focus of our marketing strategy. Once a peer is hired for a particular region, then that CSB would be formally introduced to their peer contact so that business networking could begin. Funding this program would help many people get on their feet and go a long way toward eliminating the stigma of mental illnesses.