A passion for reuse opened the door to creativity and purpose.

We all reinvent ourselves throughout our lives, right? Susan Shaver started as a stay-at-home mom, went back to school for her engineering degree and spent 17 years as an Intel engineer before taking an early retirement and putting her energy into designing new ways to use old things at UMOM New Day Center, Arizona’s largest homeless shelter for families.

Along the way she has discovered her creativity and taken great pleasure in creating beauty in unexpected ways in the UMOM community. Susan’s mind never stops dreaming up possibilities for the materials lying around the UMOM campus or donated for reuse. It’s a trait inherited from her parents, who taught her the value of all things. She is convinced that opportunities for education are the path to ending the cycle of homelessness and is glad she can be part of creating a stable environment for kids while their parents get their life in order.

“I’m learning as I go and recruiting help when I need it. I love working with other creative people!”
– Susan Shaver

You’ll find many of Susan’s projects in use in or around the Helpings Café, an innovative new social enterprise providing hands on barista and customer service job training to build job skills and confidence for UMOM clients seeking to break the cycle of homelessness. Everything is made from shipping pallets, leftover paint, old boards and other items donated to or collecting dust on the UMOM campus. Darlene Newsom, CEO, is awaiting a new conference table made from an old door and couldn’t resist purchasing a toy box made with love from a discarded door and old boards. All proceeds from purchased items benefit UMOM programs.

The possibilities are endless as Susan and the UMOM team put their creative energy to work!

bench from donated headboard_crates_bunkbed boards_cropped cafe_display from reclaimed crate_bunk beds   Order Here sign SusanShaver_cafe wall_storagespace planters_Susan_Darlene_croppeddoor_ConferenceTable_croppedDarleneNewson_toybox from door_SOLD1  hall table_2