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The Change-Makers: stories that inspire

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Dante DiBattista

I graduated in the bottom 25% of my high school class, failed out of college my first time around, and was nearly kicked out of school multiple times after that. However, I turned my failures into a transformational experience. Through a dedication to self-awareness and development, I became obsessed with the process and wanted to help repeat it in others. Later in my college journey I became a 4x Dean’s list student and an award-winning campus leader.  Read more>>

Tiara Cobbs

I started working at the age of 13 , and of course back then I never thought much about working for somebody else . All I knew was that if I worked I received a paycheck which I could use to buy whatever my young self wanted to buy . I didn’t grow up around business owners , and truly never understood what it meant to be me entrepreneur until I moved to Charlotte in 2018 . Being surrounded by people that wake up everyday and work hard for themselves was truly inspiring ; it was in those moments that I wanted to find my passion and let it work for me . Read more>>

Micah Frazier

Well like most people’s, my story started where my hobbies that grew into true purpose. I fell in love with photography when my love of fashion designing dwindled. I moved back home from living in New York for about a year and found myself loving to take pictures. I first started taking pictures of landscapes as a therapeutic tool to decompress from live and I could never let it go. My mom told me, “Micah, find something you love that you would do for free, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”, and photography is that thing for me.  Read more>>

Curtis Washington

I was gifted my very first camera in 1999 by my grandfather for Christmas. I was 10 at the time. It was a golden brown Vivitar film camera, similar to like a Kodak disposable camera. When my grandfather passed away in 2002 of pancreatic cancer, I put my camera down and never picked it up again. Fast forward to 2015, I’m an sergeant in the Army National Guard and have a deployment under my belt.  Read more>>

Toni Small

I am a 22 year old entrepreneur , born and raised in the beautiful country called Trinidad I moved to South Carolina in 2014 and made it my new home I attended Hopkins middle went on to AC Flora HIgh School for 2 years finishing my high school path at Richland One Middle College. Culture shock to say the least but I thank God for this journey. As a child I remember playing in my grandma and aunts makeup , wouldn’t of ever thought I would be doing this full time . Read more>>

Crystal Fenton

I wrote a bit about the path in the excerpt from my book “The Healing Power of the Pineal Gland: Exercises and Meditations to Detoxify, Decalcify, and Activate Your Third Eye Chakra” (https://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Crystal-Fenton/187869918): “Years ago, I was spiraling into a cycle of negativity. This negative trajectory was the culmination of a pair of traumatic shifts and life changes: a devastating breakup when I had been anticipating an engagement, and a physically and emotionally toxic job and office environment that had cumulatively increased in stress as the years progressed.” Read more>>

Kat Keturah

I fell into my position as the singing eucalyptus farmer by equal parts accident and divine design. I started singing professionally at age fourteen with my fathers big band. The heady feeling I got from being on stage was intoxicating and I’m singing still with some of the greatest musicians in Charleston. Some time ago, during the height of the pandemic, I saw there was a need for eucalyptus in a purely esthetic sense, due to a slowed infrastructure. Read more>>

Melissa Florence

Settle in – it’s a 22yr journey. I knew I would always doing something creative for my life’s work- bakery owner, writer, photographer. Basically all the things my father told me would never make any money. When I was in my twenties, living in Savannah, I heard of a flower shop for sale in Beaufort, SC. That was it! That would be my thing. I bought it, moved to Beaufort and taught myself to be a floral designer. Read more>>

Victoria Wiley

When I was 14 years old, I came across a makeup artist who made videos on youtube. Once I found her page I became obsessed with all things makeup. Little did I know, this was my first introduction to my creativity. I fell in love with creating new and fun makeup looks. I even went on to become a makeup artist temporarily in college and I created a makeup Instagram account @beingvicyjane to share the looks that I came up with, However, through the years I discovered my creativity goes further than just makeup. I have found that I love creating experiences for people to enjoy in any capacity. Read more>>

Logan Fowles

I’m Logan! Owner of The Delightful Soiree, wife + mama to two boys (with our third littlest love on the way)! Although I have my hands full juggling our family household & our boys day-to-day activities… two years ago I found myself looking for a creative outlet. I wanted to do something that I could call my own. Basically, I wanted a fun way to celebrate & create for others. After researching and praying about it…Read more>>

Madelyn Muraoka

I started taking photos in 5th grade so I could join my teacher’s photography club. I really enjoyed it and kept taking photos of different environments and animals. Eventually my parents would help me with getting my first camera, and with the new lens I was able to move onto bird photography. I really enjoyed photographing birds and started wanting to learn more about their lives and behavior patterns. Read more>>

Hannah Kelley

Like many people, I came to the Charleston area from somewhere else. I work at home full-time, so when I became pregnant I really needed to meet other moms. I’ve always liked working out, so when I found Fit4Mom Charleston I decided to try it out. The moms were so friendly and the outdoor workouts were fun and different, I really loved it. They also had mom’s nights out that I liked. Read more>>

Amie Cooper

Flourishing Families of South Carolina started with a small cluster of foster mothers who met monthly in a local coffee shop to discuss how to help improve foster care in the Midlands in 2015. After recruiting foster homes and providing backpacks for youth entering the system, we quickly realized the need to better focus our efforts on meeting deeper needs of families caring for hurting children. Read more>>

Bayly Silverman

I started Your Happy Nest in 2012 while living in Atlanta. I had worked as a nanny previously and then when I became pregnant myself in 2012, I wanted to help other families find the best care for their children. Having been a nanny previously, I created special bonds with my nanny families. The two little girls I first nannied for were the flower girls in my wedding! In 2015 I moved to my hometown of Mt. Pleasant and started Your Happy Nest here as well. Read more>>

LaTomya Doctor

I have a burning desire for fashion, especially shoes and handbags. After having the world stop during the pandemic, I decided to begin my journey as a business owner to share my love for shoes with other women, who I adorn as my Sole Sistah’s. As a survivor of the 9/11 World Trade Center Attack, one day after my 21st birthday, I live my life with purpose. Building an empire is important to me for my daughters to see that it is possible. Read more>>

Jonathan Bidwell

I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a small child. When I was in first grade, I decided that I wanted to be the best kid at drawing on my school bus. I guess I just never stopped, and I’ve still got a long way to go! I always enjoyed art in school, but it wasn’t until high-school when I was visiting college campuses that I really realized I wanted to attend an actual art program. Being around a whole community of creative people was totally eye opening for me. I had always wondered where other people like me were, and I found that among the creative community. Read more>>

Brett Hill

My wife and I started Hill House Entertainment about 5 years ago. We both had backgrounds in music Me as a roadie and her as a venue owner. It started out as Hill House Show’s. We’d bring local,Regional and National acts for an intimate show in our living room. It took off and became a outstanding success.. We then stemed out into artist management and booking. Thus bringing Hill House Entertainment to life. Read more>>

Shonda Broadus

I started the company when I was out of work during the beginning of the pandemic. Being a creative away from my day job was no fun. Since I love fashion and bold colors I decided to start a fashion brand from the bottom up and that’s when Mad Cool was born. No, it was not a smooth road. But sometimes the things that are worth having the most aren’t easy. Since I started Mad Cool during the pandemic I was unsure how long I’d be out of work so it was a gamble. When your not sure when you’ll be working again, and you have a family to support you don’t want to waste money and starting a new business costs money. Read more>>

Nick Lewis

We started out as a traveling tournament soccer team. We would form our team with the best available players from around the southeast and play in cash tournaments. As we grew as a team, the players and myself decided to join an organized league at the highest level we could play to keep the players in high level of competition year round. Today we have established ourselves as a dominant team in the United Premier League Soccer, attracting players from all over the world. SCU Heat has created and “player first” mentality. We believe that is the recipe for success. Players want to come here to better themselves and be apart of a winning organization. Read more>>

Margaret Taylor-Urrea

I am not from Sumter SC, I was born in Pasadena California (That’s in Los Angeles County if you don’t know). Ever since I was young I have done some form of art. It was something that always came easy to me and I loved many different forms of art. A few things I have done over my life time would be drawing, painting, clay working, woodworking, metal work, wire wrapping, bookbinding, sewing, glassblowing and now tattooing. Read more>>

Cherry Horton Reidenbach

As small children, my sister and I lay in the bed and talked about my gift shop when I grew up called “Cherry’s Delight”. I had always been very artistic and we made grandiose plans of what the shop would look like, who would make purchases, what types of items that I would make and that it could be a venue for other artists to sell their work. I majored in art in college, learned all the techniques taught in classes, and used those skills as a Master Picture Framer in the Atlanta, GA area. Read more>>

LostSoulsDieOld

LostSoulsDieOld is the duo comprising of LostSoul Leo (owner Leo’s Lost Art) and Dope Threauxs (owner The Woodroom Recording Studios). Both are co-owners of LSDO Clothing Co. and LSDOMG. They have both been in the music industry for over 10 years, giving them the opportunity to work with celebrities as well as Grammy Award winners/nominees. This alternative hip hop duo sets the new standard through an energetically yet melancholic sound paints a visual for the ears that exposes the “not so sunny” side to life. Read more>>

Ricardo Carreno

Fortaleza Cristiana Newspaper was born 12 years ago, out of the need to create a bridge between the Hispanic community of Greenville, SC and the Anglo community of this region. Not only as a bridge to bring the two communities closer, but also as a bridge to make our Latino culture known and, in turn, to know the culture of this southern region of the United States.  Fortaleza Cristiana Newspaper is characterized not in the news of the moment, on the contrary, we deal with different social issues that the community faces and we bring our readers to seek an integrated solution to these needs. Read more>>

Brett Roth

Its an ironic story how I became a private investigator actually. I had hired a private investigator for my own custody battle, who turned around and asked me if I wanted a job. I accepted and because I have reconnaissance background in the military, I was able to get my full private investigators license. With that, I created my own company, mirroring and following my second private Investigator I hired in Georgia for the custody battle. Read more>>

Charlene Chalmers

After college, I was applying to medical school and studying to take the entrance exam (the MCAT). I ended up bombing this test so withdrew my med school application, I was devastated. I had an existential crisis of sorts (who am I, where am I going, what am I doing with my life) so spontaneously signed up for a 3 week long volunteer trip to Arusha, Tanzania. This decision changed my life. While in Tanzania, I fell in love with everything about the country: the language, the food, the people, the culture, and especially the children.  Read more>>

Reesey Muney

I started writing poetry in 2013 . I had no idea that I was falling in love with something that would be with me for the rest of my life . in 2014 I recorded my first mixtape as an artist with help of my friend and producer Kwon Boomerz and released it exclusively on Spinrilla . From there I dropped a follow up project in 2015 called Muney Talks. I took a break from music for a couple years to take care of real life problems and to learn the business side of things . Today I am now a producer with 50 + songs under my belt & constantly trying to find ways to innovate and push the limits of sound . Read more>>

Kalen Richardson

It started when I was really young growing up in church and having a passion for drums my mom sang on a private group that would write songs and make music arrangements from scratch and growing up in that environment gave me the itch I began to scratch called songwriting through later years I would become a good drumset player and be In the marching band I realized I wanted to take music further when I met my friends out of the hip hop group KCMJ we started making music in 2017 gaining notice from highschool classmates and began taking it seriously. Read more>>

Valeriana Wick

I got started after I retired from the military. Once I moved to Charleston I started to have skin issues ( never had this problem before). I visited with several dermatologist that would prescribed cream and a whole bunch of topical that would indicted to stay away from the sun. So I resorted to my heritage ( Native American & Caribbean) using only natural products. I used the knowledge my ancestors’ taught me and began researching. Hence, the birth of Beautifully Simple Soap, Botanical Influence Skin Care Products Read more>>

Morgan Blair

I graduated from Clemson University with a degree in nutrition, and I have a big passion for health and wellness. I taught many years in the fitness industry from pilates, to kickboxing, to group fitness classes at local gyms, and worked many years as a nutrition education specialist for pregnant/postpartum moms, and their children. I absolutely love sharing my passion for wellness with other moms, and helping them share that passion with their families. Read more>>

James Dawson Jordan

I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. I guess I got my artistic abilities from my mothers side of the family and a passion for the outdoors from my fathers side. I first started my actual passion for illustrating in high school with sci-fi comics and stories I hoped would someday be published. I later realized that it wasn’t the path I needed to pursue and completely dropped drawing for years into college.  Read more>>

Heather Gilliam

Growing up, I loved playing “nurse” with my cousins and knew then that I wanted a career in the healthcare field. My 108-year-old great-grandmother Aran had to be hospitalized due to illness. It was during her many visits; I first experienced the healthcare system. Through the interactions with my family and the healthcare team, I recognized how broken and inadequate the healthcare system can be for minorities. Read more>>

Maya Scriven

I would have to go back as far as when I was a little girl I would love to play in my dolls hair and dress them up. I remember a childhood friend taught me how to braid and since then I can’t stop braiding. As I got older and enter high school it was always in the back of my head that I wanted to do hair. Thankfully, I attended Lower Richland High where they had a CATE program which allowed me to receive my Cosmetology license while in school. Read more>>

Lindsey Bowen

I’ve always been one of those people who was a “jack of all trades–master of none” and I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I went to school for business, nursing, cosmetology, teaching…which somehow led me to a part time job at a gymnastics studio in 2017! I started doing their social media and after they saw how tech savvy I was, they told me they wanted me to be in charge of doing their websites.  Read more>>

Melvina Spain Doiley

In 2015, I launched Heeled by MelRose, an online fashion boutique created to merge my love of high heel shoes and my belief that EVERY WOMAN, regardless of their income status, should be able to own and wear a pair of fierce high heels. My motto is “when you look good, you feel good, and you perform better!!!”In 2021 I relaunched Heeled by MelRose, LLC to expand my brand to a full fashion boutique designed to style women from the soles of their feet to the clothes on their backs. Read more>>

Maria Mendoza

I was born and raise in Caracheo, Cortazar, Guanajuato, Mexico. I relocated to the United States in 1999 with my family. We arrived to Little River, South Carolina. I attended Middle school and High school in South Carolina, then in 2005 I moved to Miami, Florida to start collogue. I received a BA in Fashion Design from Miami International University of Art & Design. Then in 2011, I relocated to New York City and worked for LVMH, in luxury retail management. After a successful career in retail, I decided to relocate back home to South Carolina in 2015. Read more>>

Colleen Clark

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like. My story is unique. I grew up in a small town in Connecticut that had an incredible jazz band program. My high school, Bacon Academy, won the Berklee High School Jazz Festival numerous times. Now living in South Carolina this is an interesting situation because I did not grow up with marching band – some of my students can’t imagine an upbringing without marching band. Connecticut has and continues to have incredible jazz musicians, born and raised, that continue to do great things. Read more>>

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