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Upcycling, recycled clothes raise funds for home for pregnant teens

Andrea Blackstone | 10/16/2015, 6 a.m.
Tracy Yvette Arnold is a faith-filled woman who is on a mission to help pregnant girls and underserved young women ...
Tracy Yvette Arnold, CEO/Community developer and founder of Arnold Place plans to open a transitional home for homeless, pregnant teens and youth ages 13-22 who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Arnold is collecting items to raise funds for acquisition of a building located in Oxon Hill, Maryland. (Courtesy Photo)

Tracy Yvette Arnold is a faith-filled woman who is on a mission to help pregnant girls and underserved young women in Maryland. On October 31, 2015 the CEO/community developer and founder of Arnold Place will receive keys to a home that is located at 801 Owens Rd. in Oxon Hill.

Arnold, who has always wanted to do something to benefit the less fortunate, will begin putting cosmetic touches on the transitional home that will open in November in Prince George’s County. The transitional home is not government funded. Funds raised thus far for Arnold Place came from upcycling. Approximately 13-26 homeless pregnant teens and pregnant women ages 13-22 who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS can soon find refuge through the nonprofit organization, Arnold Place.

“We just won’t be offering housing. This is a holistic approach…,” Arnold said.

A housemother will be on-site 24 hours. Counselors and other professionals will lead required weekly classes in areas such as financial literacy, personal hygiene, parenting and anger management. Older participants will be encouraged to finish high school, if they have not done so. Employment assistance will help prepare them for independent living. Foster care children may also reside at Arnold Place.

An online campaign requesting one million people to donate $5 to Arnold Place through www.arnoldplace.org kicked off on October 12. Monetary donations will help Arnold to purchase the leased transitional home and contribute to operating costs.

Additionally, the goal of the One Million Upcycling Campaign is to collect one million pairs of shoes, one million pounds of clothing and one million pounds of empty plastic containers, such as shampoo bottles and hygiene products used by women. A recycling company pays Arnold for them. They use plastic containers for the construction of playgrounds, toys and strollers.

“People can donate (clothes) and they can have stains on them, holes in them, missing buttons and anything like that. What happens is the recycling company gives us a dollar amount per pound. They recycle them and make new clothing and new shoes for third world countries,” Arnold said. “We also collect women hygiene products from hair salons and anything that deals with a woman, whether it’s a plastic soap bottle, a conditioner bottle, shampoo or dye—anything like that.”

Arnold’s innovative fundraising efforts are gaining momentum. Rosedale, Timonium and Glen Burnie, are among 14 Salon Plaza locations that support Arnold Place by collecting empty plastic containers used by hair stylists who rent booths. Collection receptacles are picked up when they are full. MGM Grand— a casino located in Prince George’s County— collects clothing for Arnold place. Arnold is a member of The Temple of Praise that is located in the District of Columbia. Her church has been a major supporter. Other business owners and churches have joined forces to collect items. In the future, Arnold will enhance fundraising efforts with creating a pop-up shop. A requested donation of $20 for selecting five pieces of collected clothing items in excellent condition will be offered to bargain shoppers.

Why is Arnold so driven to give back? She is also a mortgage broker who once owned a successful company, Mortgage Consultants for Life (MCL). The company closed in 2010, due to the economy’s downward spiral. Arnold lost seven homes and filed for bankruptcy. She never forgot how she was treated while seeking help herself. Arnold says her idea was inspired by God. She recalls hearing about a defunct program in which empty toilet tissue rolls could be turned in for money. The entrepreneur was inspired to birth a new dream called Arnold Place.

“I want to be able to freely give back to these girls (and women) in a big way,” Arnold said.

Please visit www.arnoldplace.org to donate to the $5 campaign through PayPal, or to learn more about the transitional home or upcycling program. Collection sites for donations in D.C. Maryland, Va., including Baltimore and Annapolis, are still needed. Clothing and shoes are also wanted. Arnold can be reached by phone at 202-431-9811.