Virtuous Circles: Cabi and A Safe Haven

We describe our publishing work at Make It Better Media Group — including Better Chicago magazine — as creating virtuous circles. We connect our audience to trusted resources through helpful, inspiring content in order to help everyone live, love, work, and play with greater purpose.

Naturally, we delight when additional connections and helpful activities flow because of our work too. This keeps the good growing — as virtuous circles are wont to do. Here’s a recent example I’m grateful to share with you.

Sue Pelletier is a consummate “Make It Better” woman, an intuitive connector who puts heart, smarts, and drive toward excellence into everything she undertakes. This includes her work on behalf of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School (OLPH) and as a rep for Cabi clothing.

Pelletier recommended one of my all-time favorite Better Chicago stories — on Sister Paulanne and her Needy Family Fund at OLPH. But, it’s her Cabi connection that I’m celebrating here. The company selected her as their Illinois Ambassador for the Heart of Cabi Foundation, which empowered her to create and host an event where many Cabi representatives and partners helped style and dress women trying to transition out of homelessness and back into the workforce.

Pelletier selected A Safe Haven (ASH), a winner of an early Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Award, as the nonprofit partner for this event. We are big fans of ASH and its founder, Neli Vazquez Rowland, another woman who embodies Make It Better sensibilities.  Please see her recent appearance on Windy City Live to be inspired by her too.

A Safe Haven’s wraparound model delivers comprehensive, effective services to homeless individuals and families, and needs to be replicated more broadly. The more support it receives from individuals like Pelletier and organizations like the Heart of Cabi Foundation, the more likely that is to happen too. But, in the meantime, we’re grateful that Pelletier selected ASH because of our work and are happy to share the news of the 90-plus women transformed by Cabi’s generosity through Pelletier’s and Vasquez Rowland’s perspective too.


Neli Vazquez Rowland and Sue Pelletier

From Sue Pelletier:

Dear Susan,

Thank you so much for introducing me to Neli Vazquez Rowland at A Safe Haven. As the Heart of Cabi Foundation Ambassador for Illinois, I was able to collaborate with Katherine Agle from A Safe Haven to create an amazing HOcF Week event one week ago on Wednesday, May 15 benefiting over 90 women residents of their program.

Over 500 items of clothing donated from Cabi and more than 400 items from stylist donations were organized in the chapel room for a Shopping & Styling distribution event for the women at ASH.

From 1:00 pm until 7:00 pm, the women came in shifts to the chapel to work with one of our 25 stylists who volunteered their time that day.

The joy and gratitude that filled the room that day was heartwarming!


Some of the recipients’ comments:

“I would love to thank the ladies of Cabi for taking the time to share & help the women of ASH to become better women with clothes for all occasions. Interviews will never be the same again! Thanks 4 everything!”

“Thank you. We had a great experience. They helped us and actually cared about how we felt about things. It was great!”

“Thank you so very much. I was feeling desperate and disappointed, but this event lifted my spirits.”

“This was one of the best experiences in my life! I love fashion so this was so amazing! Thank you all and especially Lori for giving me more beautiful clothes to add to my professional collection!”

“This way beyond made my day!! Thank you for doing this and making so many women smile and feel awesome about themselves! A special thank you to Karen for bearing with me and helping me find beautiful clothes for my new job!”

Some of the stylists’ comments:

“I definitely received more than I gave today.

Thank you to all of you for a wonderful day at A Safe Haven. The women were so appreciative and amazed at the generosity and kindness that they experienced!”

“Many thanks to Sue for her graceful leadership, to each of you who gave your time to planning the event, and to each one of the stylists who showed up with love to serve these women who have experienced such hardship in their lives. My experience was so meaningful because of all of you. Cabi sisters are the best sisters!!!”

Guest of a Stylist comment:

“What a wonderful experience! So enjoyed meeting you all: your compassion and passion was contagious…so I felt the joy of sharing, giving, caring all day long. Thanks to all who committed so much time and effort for this great event.”

Overview [By The Numbers]

90+ recipients

22 stylists, 3 guests of stylists

Each recipient was able to choose 8-10 items and also received an infinity scarf and Cabi pen. Extra clothing was donated to ASH where they plan to distribute at their Homeless Veterans Event as well as to future residents in the program.

Additionally, box lunches for the stylists were purchased by Cabi through A Safe Haven’s catering business, thus supporting another program at A Safe Haven.

The Heart of Cabi Foundation Week held 33 events across the United States, Canada, and the UK. 46 nonprofit organizations were supported. 2,875 women served and loved. Over 17,581 clothing items distributed!

Thank you again for the connection to Neli and A Safe Haven. Connections and the relationships that develop from these connections are what make everything BETTER!




Robin Beattie and Laurie Carver with guest




Shayne Bullen, Jody Beutler and guests

From Neli Vazquez Rowland:

Good Morning Susan Noyes,

Ditto! Thank you for introducing us to Susan Pelletier! You are both a huge blessing to us in so many ways.

I cannot thank you both enough for everything you did to connect with us and all of the women at A Safe Haven Foundation!

Susan Pelletier, it was awesome to witness all of our ladies smiling as they were over the moon with joy knowing that there are people like you and all the Cabi ladies out there that took the time to care about them and to generously give of their time, talent and clothes!

Many of the women arrive with just the clothes on their back as they escape domestic violence or sex trafficking situations, are under house arrest awaiting court dates because they couldn’t make bail or because of living on the streets due to addictions or joblessness, mental health issues like depression and poverty, by the way most of them are moms with children in our program. All of them are desperately in need of some love and support and pampering them with their own professional stylists and clothes is truly a gift that they will never forget.

On behalf of myself, Katherine and all of the women at A Safe Haven, thank you Susan for thinking of us and for everything you did to make it a day of social impact and a beautiful day to remember!

Your gift of the surplus clothes continued to be felt by the women veterans at our military veteran stand down this Saturday where we hosted over 500 veterans, 75 volunteers and the clothing boutique was among 80 services the vets received like health check ups, housing and employers came to bring real resources to our military heroes. The event attracted several top government agency leaders who came to speak and share their commitment to employ more veterans at their agencies. It was another heartwarming, authentic and amazing day of true social impact where CABIs presence was felt and deeply appreciated by all.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”

Pelletier said it exactly right above — “Connections and the relationships that develop from these connections are what make everything BETTER!”

We’re so grateful for the opportunity to create and amplify positive, powerful connections like these.

If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to our Better Letter and help grow the good while you live, love, work, and play with greater purpose too.

Thank you!

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