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Celebrating Local Black Heroes: Shawntel Lindsey

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Shawntel Lindsey, Executive Director of the Fabrick of Life, believes that giving back is not about when you have the time, but when you make the time. She explains, “When you make time for anything, you make sure you make a difference.

Generations of Inspiration

Lindsey’s mother and late grandmother, her two greatest inspirations, taught her to give generously. They taught her that there are two things you have to offer: time and money. She explains, “There will be situations where your time has more value than money, and events where monetary support is the only solution.

Her grandmother was always willing to share a life lesson. To this day, Lindsey finds calmness anytime she smells melting butter and sugar, remembering lessons her grandmother shared while baking. “She could replace a counseling session with Dr. Phil,” Lindsey recalls fondly.

Her mother, to this day, is always willing to help.  Lindsey remembers that before her retirement, her mom would take vacation time to help people in moments of crisis. Still, when something is happening that could use an extra set of hands- be it a doctor’s appointment or a basement clean out- her mom always says, “Pick me up on the way!

Their acts of kindness were natural instincts and reflex actions. Shawntel Lindsey, about her mother and late grandmother

Five Senses of Art

The example her mother and grandmother set for her impact the community today through the work Lindsey does at the Fabrick of Life.

The Fabrick of Life, housed in the Artbor Community Connection Center, is a nonprofit organization in Kalamazoo (Learn more about Artbor Community Connection Center in this story by Public Media Network). They offer community enrichment and engagement opportunities in an inclusive, accessible environment grounded in embracing all five senses of art.

When asked how she hopes to impact others through her work, she explains, “My hope is by using art in all of its 5 senses we promote social cohesion, civic engagement, and equity in the community. Art is collective and eclectic.

Self-Care Should Impact Your Life

After years of experience, Lindsey offers that true self-care goes beyond just the act. Further, it’s not simply an excuse to spend time and money in search of joy.

“Self-care should be a part of your tomorrow, seep into next week, affecting the rest of your life,” she shares. A work in progress, Lindsey explains that she works to release bad habits and replace them with better ones.

Ask Questions, Take Chances

Lindsey offers that, if given the opportunity, she would encourage her younger self to ask more questions and take more chances.

She explains that she would also periodically remind herself of Dr. Maya Angelou’s adage, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.