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Meet Allison, our May Badass Woman!

This month’s Badass Women is Allison Dearing, the executive director of One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center in Birmingham, Alabama – a collaboration between the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, City of Birmingham, AL, Birmingham Police Department, the YWCA Central Alabama, and the Crisis Center, Inc. This is a much-needed community resource, and it was great to learn more about the services it provides.


How did you get involved with your organization? How long have you been working with it?

For a long time, One Place has been a dream of many in Birmingham who are committed to enhanced services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. As someone working in the field of interpersonal violence prevention and response for almost 15 years, I’ve been at the table for those discussions in some capacity since 2011. However, in 2014, with renewed momentum and a firm commitment to collaborate from four partnering agencies, One Place became a reality with the launch of our pilot project operating one day per month. Since then, we have expanded our model to four days/week, incorporated as a non-profit, formed a Board of Directors, and hired staff. I came on board as Executive Director in April of this year.

Allison and one of our Badass Women from years past, Crisis Center director Meg McGlammery

Allison and one of our Badass Women from years past, Crisis Center director Meg McGlammery

What’s coming up next for your organization?

The United Way of Central Alabama donated property to One Place so that the collaborating agencies have a space that is our own! Renovations will be completed over the summer, with a grand opening celebration planned for early fall.

What’s your next personal creative project?  

I have an empty wall in my bedroom that will be a gallery wall displaying some of my favorite treasures by the end of summer!

Thank you Allison, for making Birmingham a better place!

Meet Lillis, our March Badass Women!

Our Badass Woman for March is Lillis Taylor, co-founder and executive director of the Birmingham, AL, non-profit sewing co-op, Bib & Tucker Sew-Op. I had the pleasure of meeting Lillis when I visited the Sew-Op last month to participate in the March Quilts project. It’s such a wonderful space, filled with fabric, color, and best of all…Badass Women of all ages!!! 

Meet Lillis, everyone!



How did you get involved with your organization? How long have you been working with it?

I am a Birmingham, AL native and when I moved back to my hometown in 2010, I was itching to learn to sew. I joined the Birmingham Quilter’s Guild and met Ms. Annie Bryant, a then-65 yr old. She wasn’t comfortable at the Guild because so many folks were already very proficient in quilting and piecing. I told her I didn’t know anything but wanted to learn and she said the same of herself. We decided to start meeting weekly at Inglenook Library in Tarrant and since then, have become family to one another. Our weekly meetings grew and our need for additional space had us moving from place to place until we landed where we are today.

We chose the following as our mission: to cultivate skills for those who sew or want to sew (ages 9-99) where everyone can be both a student and a teacher.

In 2014, Ms. Annie and I decided to turn our informal sewing bee into a formal 501c3 non-profit. We chose the following as our mission: to cultivate skills for those who sew or want to sew (ages 9-99) where everyone can be both a student and a teacher. Our vision is to create a cottage industry of textile manufacturing that would create income opportunities for single parents.


What’s your favorite part of working with your organization?

I love the diversity of our membership. I am a 35 yr old Caucasian female and Ms. Annie is a 70 yr old African American female. I have learned so much from her since beginning this journey and it is our camaraderie that informs the makeup of our membership.


What would you like people to know about your organization? What might be surprising about it?

I think anyone who steps through the Sew-Op’s door, ends up leaving with a lot more than sewing tips. We’ve heard all kinds of stories from the women who spend time with us and for me, I feel as though I’m experiencing the 21st century’s version of the quilting bee.


What’s coming up next for your organization?

The Sew-Op has donated ten bed quilts to the local YWCA homeless shelter; helped out with artist Amanda Browder’s installation for UAB’s Art Department*; collaborated with Browder to make three quilt tops; launched a successful Kickstarter campaign; and facilitated a public sewing project that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches (this project yielded 461 quilt blocks and in its second year will raise awareness about gender pay equity). At the end of 2015, we competed in UAB’s Community Health Innovation Awards and were awarded $13,000 to create a sewing training program, which we are working on right now. We hope this training is the seed for our vision of a cottage industry of sewing manufacturing in Birmingham.


What’s your next personal creative project?

The impetus for joining the Birmingham Quilter’s Guild was a collaboration with my father, artist Trés Taylor. In 2010, I designed a line of clothing using imagery from his artwork. We call this company, Tré Lilli and I have had the project on the back burner as I’ve been building the Sew-Op. I feel that 2016 is the year Tré Lilli comes back to life. has info about Tré Lilli and all of my other endeavors.


The laziest interview question ever: is there anything else you’d like to add that wasn’t covered in the questions above?

Bib & Tucker Sew-Op is a bonafide 501c3 so cash and material donations are not only greatly appreciated but we can issue legitimate receipts for tax purposes! We also happily welcome interested seamsters to visit us any Tuesday from 11-3PM. Ms. Annie is our welcome wagon and will make you feel at home. Also, men are welcome! We’ve yet to have an intrepid male become a regular…

Photos courtesy of Jared Ragland and Lillis Taylor.

*That’s my university! School pride! –Mercedes

Meet Karen, our January Badass Woman!

Lizzie kisses

January’s Badass Woman is Karen Hilberg, president of Rescue Ohio English Bulldogs, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization established to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome English Bulldogs. ROEB covers the entire state of Ohio, and up to a 2 hour distance from the Ohio border.

About ROEB:

We are committed to finding loving, responsible homes and to the philosophy that there is no such thing as a perfect dog or a perfect person, but rather the right dog for the right person.

All dogs that enter our care receive proper medical attention (vaccinations, spay/neuter, and any other additional procedures or treatments needed) and are fostered in private homes until they are medically cleared for adoption.

We are run solely on the kind donations of our supporters and through tireless fundraising efforts.

How did you get involved with your organization? How long have you been working with it?    

My husband and I got our first bulldog, Maggie, in early 2008 completely unaware of what is involved in caring for English Bulldogs!! It was a very steep learning curve but during our research we stumbled on the nightmare that goes by the name Puppy Mill!! After realizing that Maggie had come from one of these puppy mills we wanted to get more and more involved in rescue work. I found the Facebook page for Rescue Ohio English Bulldogs in April 2011. The rescue had been started by Rachael Rutowski in February 2011 so when we went along to a small fundraising event in May it was actually their first one. With a limited amount of followers and supporters at that time, both myself and my husband quickly got involved at the very heart of the rescue and when the Rescue’s board was put into place we both had positions on it. When Rachael decided to step down in the Spring of 2014, I then took over the role of President.   

What’s your favorite part of working with ROEB?    

It has to be seeing the transformation of the bulldogs that come into our care. It is difficult to witness the physical, emotional and mental pain these bulldogs have endured before coming in to the rescue. But seeing how they change when they realize that they are now safe and loved can’t be described.   

What would you like people to know about ROEB? What might be surprising about it?

We are a very small operation, all completely volunteer work. There are five board members in total, including myself, and we juggle our careers and family around the work of the rescue.  

What may be surprising is that we are always in the red. We always owe thousands of dollars in vet bills. We are incredibly lucky to work with some fantastic vets who will let us run an outstanding balance, and if it wasn’t for them then the Rescue would have been forced to close a long time ago. We may seem to be constantly asking for donations but that’s only because we need them. The average bulldog veterinary bill can easily amount to over $1000 and often a lot more. For example, we have a bulldog in the rescue now called Cribbs who desperately needs a very intricate and specialized ear surgery that will cost the Rescue between $3700 -$4400 and we haven’t got it. So yes, we are always broke!!  🙂

What’s coming up next for ROEB? 

We have an online Facebook auction about to start this weekend which we hope will raise enough money to help pay off some of our vet bills. Winter is typically a quiet time for us and most of our fundraising events take place in the warmer weather. Our two fundraising board members are also working on a Trivia night which we’d like to do in the Spring!!! 

The picture is of myself with Lizzie, who I fostered for the Rescue. She fit in so well with the rest of our fur-kids that we decided to adopt her on Christmas Day!! Lizzie was picked up as a stray in June 2015 on the streets of Cleveland and showed obvious signs of being badly abused as well as being used as a breeder. Her little personality continues to delight us every day as she becomes more and more confident!!

I have to mention the rest of the team without whom the Rescue could not function!! Pam Levengood, Julie Ring, Julie Kemesky and Thomas Hilberg. Running this rescue would be impossible without the five of us working together…all for the love of English Bulldogs!!!  

Juju dog


We get almost all of our Badass nominations from YOU! Please nominate a woman working with a nonprofit to make our world a better place by dropping us an email with contact info and a little background about your Badass nominee. We want to hear from you!

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