It started out with her just being unsatisfied, Colette D. Rivers says. For the past several years she'd been working as a project manager with Capital One, a position that brought a great deal of professional success. But she felt as though she was living her life in a silo, she says, away from the human element that made her happy: “There was this thing inside of me that said I needed to do something different.”
Dabbling in real estate and renting properties, in 2006 Rivers established A Better Place, a business that attempts to provide decent housing to those who would not typically be able to rent or buy. “Sometimes there are situations where people don't know exactly where they are going to live,” she says, “where they're going to end up.”
Earlier this year Rivers took her efforts further by creating the Blooms, Butterflies, and Pearls Program, a recovery home for women with children coming out of an intensive drug-rehabilitation program or incarceration.
So far she's seen two women through, helping them network into new careers, learn valuable money-management skills and heal the scars of soured family relationships. Rivers is ready to expand, with hopes to turn the recovery facility into a nonprofit, and thus be able to take in those with no income.
“You always learn about not looking at the outside of someone in their circumstances and really seeing their heart and who they are,” Rivers says, “and doing this has increased my ability to do that.”