Recycling Braves’ trash into jewelry puts disadvantaged women to work

The Atlanta Braves Foundation shares in some of the proceeds of jewelry made from items found in the Braves' dugout at Truist Field. The jewelry is made in Detroit and soon be made in Atlanta by women hired out of shelter living. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Photos courtesy of Rebel Nell

caption arrowCaption
The Atlanta Braves Foundation shares in some of the proceeds of jewelry made from items found in the Braves' dugout at Truist Field. The jewelry is made in Detroit and soon be made in Atlanta by women hired out of shelter living. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Photos courtesy of Rebel Nell

Material from the home dugout of the World Champion Atlanta Braves is being refashioned into jewelry with a purpose that goes beyond memorializing the team’s banner year.

Some of the proceeds from the jewelry sales go to the women and girls initiatives supported by the Atlanta Braves Foundation. But most help support an organization that gives disadvantaged women jobs as creators of one-of-a-kind, wearable art.

Rebel Nell launched in Detroit eight years ago and plans to open a second location soon in Atlanta.

It’s a program that Lisa M. Moultrie, deputy chief assistant district attorney for DeKalb County, can’t wait to see in metro Atlanta.

“Rebel Nell’s social entrepreneurship model serves a need we have been looking for in the metro area – employers willing to hire those with barriers of criminal records, periods of homelessness, or surviving abuse or exploitation,” she said.

To date, 34 women have been hired out of shelter living in Detroit by Rebel Nell to turn material that would otherwise be discarded into jewelry. Twenty-two of those women have graduated into the traditional workforce, said organization CEO and co-founder Amy Peterson.

caption arrowCaption
Azzie Caldwell and other employees at Rebel Nell learn the art of jewelry making. Fans have a piece of history. Items that would otherwise be discarded are put to good use. And disadvantaged women are uplifted and empowered, says CEO Amy Peterson. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Photos provided by Rebel Nell

Azzie Caldwell and other employees at Rebel Nell learn the art of jewelry making. Fans have a piece of history. Items that would otherwise be discarded are put to good use. And disadvantaged women are uplifted and empowered, says CEO Amy Peterson. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Photos provided by Rebel Nell

caption arrowCaption
Azzie Caldwell and other employees at Rebel Nell learn the art of jewelry making. Fans have a piece of history. Items that would otherwise be discarded are put to good use. And disadvantaged women are uplifted and empowered, says CEO Amy Peterson. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Photos provided by Rebel Nell

Credit: Photos provided by Rebel Nell

This year, Rebel Nell began establishing roots in Georgia. Not only is the company selling jewelry made from reclaimed materials from the Braves’ dugout at Truist Park, but it’s also launched a new line made from recyclable graffiti recouped from the streets of Atlanta. Each piece of jewelry costs an average of about $60.

“We are laying the groundwork in 2021 with the hope that we will open a similar operation in Atlanta in the next year or two, pandemic permitting,” Peterson said.

caption arrowCaption
Amy Peterson was working as an attorney for the Detroit Tigers. But seeing people down on their luck made her rethink her life's journey. She co-founded Rebel Nell eight years ago and has hired 34 women out of shelter living to make one-of-a-kind wearable art. She also helps the women in other ways to get on their feet. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Rebel Nellvinformedia@gmail.com

Amy Peterson was working as an attorney for the Detroit Tigers. But seeing people down on their luck made her rethink her life's journey. She co-founded Rebel Nell eight years ago and has hired 34 women out of shelter living to make one-of-a-kind wearable art.  She also helps the women in other ways to get on their feet. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Rebel Nellvinformedia@gmail.com

caption arrowCaption
Amy Peterson was working as an attorney for the Detroit Tigers. But seeing people down on their luck made her rethink her life's journey. She co-founded Rebel Nell eight years ago and has hired 34 women out of shelter living to make one-of-a-kind wearable art. She also helps the women in other ways to get on their feet. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Rebel Nellvinformedia@gmail.com

Credit: Rebel Nellvinformedia@gmail.com

She has long had a passion for baseball. At 14, she decided she wanted to be the first female general manager of a major league baseball team, which happened for Kim Ng last year with the Miami Marlins.

After college, law school, and business school, Peterson landed an internship with the Detroit Tigers that she eventually parlayed into a job as the team’s attorney. It was in her 11 years with the Tigers that she began rethinking her career.

“I was living right next door to a shelter that caters to women and families,” Peterson said. “I got to know the residents when I’d walk my dog or come home from work. I was moved by their stories – so many had left challenging situations in search of a better opportunity for themselves and their families.”

Out of that experience came Rebel Nell.

“It blended my love of two worlds,” she said.

Her company name is a tip of the hat to the late First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a trailblazer for women’s empowerment and social justice nicknamed “Little Nell.”

Peterson, whose social enterprise pounds out jewelry for the Detroit Tigers, said Rebel Nell allows teams’ fans to have a piece of history and puts to good use items that would otherwise be discarded.

caption arrowCaption
The social enterprise Rebel Nell hopes to begin designing handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry in Atlanta soon, giving a hand-up to some of the city's homeless. Rebel Nell has put 34 women to work making jewelry in eight years. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Photos courtesy of Rebel Nell, CEO Amy Peterson

The social enterprise Rebel Nell hopes to begin designing handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry in Atlanta soon, giving a hand-up to some of the city's homeless. Rebel Nell has put 34 women to work making jewelry in eight years. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Photos courtesy of Rebel Nell, CEO Amy Peterson

caption arrowCaption
The social enterprise Rebel Nell hopes to begin designing handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry in Atlanta soon, giving a hand-up to some of the city's homeless. Rebel Nell has put 34 women to work making jewelry in eight years. Courtesy of Rebel Nell

Credit: Photos courtesy of Rebel Nell, CEO Amy Peterson

Credit: Photos courtesy of Rebel Nell, CEO Amy Peterson

“But the bigger picture is what it is doing for the women we employ and how it is providing empowerment and uplifting opportunities for them,” she said.

In the first 12 months that women are on Rebel Nell’s payroll, the staff helps them find permanent housing, learn how to create and live on a budget, and address past barriers to success, such as their driving record, child care access, and credit score, Peterson said.

Thirty-four-year-old Detroit resident Ethel Rucker considers herself fortunate to be working for Rebel Nell.

She connected with the nonprofit in November 2020 when she was unemployed and struggling to find steady work to support her and her four children, including one with special needs.

“Working here has been amazing,” Rucker said. “My life is getting back on track and is better than ever thanks to Rebel Nell.”

Sarit Babboni, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta Braves, learned about Rebel Nell from the Detroit Tigers Foundation.

“We saw the opportunity to collaborate with a social enterprise doing amazing work for women – knowing Braves fans would love the unique pieces in the collection,” Babboni said. “Investing in programs that support women and developing creative ways to support economic security and independence for women is a need everywhere.”

caption arrowCaption
These bottle stoppers were crafted by homeless women in Detroit out of materials found in the Atlanta Braves dugout at Truist Park. Rebel Nell, the company that employs these women, hopes to set up shop in Atlanta soon. Photo courtesy of Rebel Nell, CEO Amy Peterson

Credit: Photos courtesy of Amy Peterson, Rebel Nell CEO

These bottle stoppers were crafted by homeless women in Detroit out of materials found in the Atlanta Braves dugout at Truist Park. Rebel Nell, the company that employs these women, hopes to set up shop in Atlanta soon. Photo courtesy of Rebel Nell, CEO Amy Peterson

Credit: Photos courtesy of Amy Peterson, Rebel Nell CEO

caption arrowCaption
These bottle stoppers were crafted by homeless women in Detroit out of materials found in the Atlanta Braves dugout at Truist Park. Rebel Nell, the company that employs these women, hopes to set up shop in Atlanta soon. Photo courtesy of Rebel Nell, CEO Amy Peterson

Credit: Photos courtesy of Amy Peterson, Rebel Nell CEO

Credit: Photos courtesy of Amy Peterson, Rebel Nell CEO

Moultrie, who runs the DeKalb DA’s Diversion and Community Alternatives Program, said Rebel Nell helps women overcome personal hardship and transform themselves “in the same way that they are transforming discarded objects into desirable art.”

“Having discussed with Amy her work and vision, I know that she sees the women she works with as found gems in our community,” she said.

Read more at: rebelnell.com.