Laura Kallus

Laura's Photos

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September 1st, 2009

Meet Laura Kallus from N. Miami Beach, Florida

In 2004, Laura Kallus started a gang intervention program in North Miami Beach. She works with Haitian gang members who are raised in poverty and turning to gangs as a means to gain respect and money. Most of them are multiple offenders and with their criminal records and limited education, they have difficulty securing employment. Laura requested $25,000 to buy silk screening equipment to create jobs for these young adults coming out of prison or gangs, give them a trade & mentor them as many have no skills & no education, only a desire to change. Besides learning a trade, the team plans to sell the T-shirts they make to help fund the gang prevention program.

"Panzou" is a Haitian Creole word meaning to seize; reclaim; to take back by any means necessary.

Click the image to visit The PanZOu Project website

“Our most difficult challenge is convincing employers to take a chance on hiring our clients,” said Laura, "and the current economic state means our gang members are competing for jobs with people who have no criminal records and much higher levels of education. With a silk screen venture, members will have the opportunity to be trained in a skill and at the same time receive professional development. When they leave us they will have a skill, a resume, and a reference. Most of them have never had a legitimate job before. They will learn how to be professional so when they leave us they will be prepared to enter the workforce with some experience.”

Laura talks about Kevin Robiou, who was an influential gang leader in North Miami Beach. His life was filled with violence and tragedy and even the police told Laura not to waste her time with him. But she refused to give up. When he was in prison she stayed in touch. People warned her but she believed in him. He is now a Program Assistant for PanZOu Project and is one of their best employees. Laura is not only changing lives, she is changing the community of North Miami Beach. Since she started the gang prevention program, overall crime in the area has dropped 22%. Drug crimes are down 11%, crimes against people are down 11%, and property crime is down 26%. She is making a difference in the community and giving these young people a future.

Laura has a 4-year-old son named Skye.

Diary Starts Here

July 15th, 2011
Laura sent us an update...

"We are extremely busy here at PanZOu. We have had to scale down most of our social services due to funding constraints but I am pleased to report that the shop is blooming and we have a new person aboard, Tommy Butler, who is helping us expand our products and skills! I cannot tell you how deeply grateful we are to have our shop as it is the only thing helping to pay the bills and keep PanZOu open! And the kids love to work in the shop, they are designing their own t shirt lines too! What a gift the Jenny Jones Foundation has given us! All around us wonderful non profits are closing their doors...the economy has affected all of our abilities to stay afloat and provide quality services to the highest risk kids. And now is the time when they need us the most!! I can honestly say that without the blessing that you gave us, we too would be gone. As it stands now, sadly there is no more funding for my salary but I am going on faith that a solution will come. I just know it will!! Meanwhile we are building our shop so that we may have a healthy social enterprise to generate jobs for as many as we can! Before, when it was just Kevin and I we were also busy providing services and could not devote ourselves full time to the shop. Now with Tommy aboard, we are excited about the future and PanZOu Production's success.

I want to apologize for my long silence and hope you forgive me. I have attached a bunch of pictures and have a million more if you like! I just want you to see all the great things we are doing with your gift to us! Warm regards, Laura

click the image to see a slideshow

January 20th, 2010
The PanZOu Project is printing t-shirts to help raise funds for the Haitian relief efforts...

Hello friends,

Here is the flyer for our Hearts for Haiti t-shirts! Please distribute throughout your networks. Let your friends colleagues know that PanZOu is accepting donations to help with the Haitian relief efforts. Each donation of $20 will receive a Hearts for Haiti t-shirt. Half the donation goes to Haiti and the other supports PanZOu's programs with high risk Haitian youth here. Please direct them to our website: There they may donate $20 for a shirt, on choose any other amount to donate directly to Haiti.

Our PanZOu kids worked hard over the weekend to get these shirts printed and they look great!


click the image to enlarge

August 4th, 2009
Laura and her PanZOu crew were just trained on how to use the new equipment...

"Ryonet sent Marv Guillot, AKA "The Print Surgeon" to train us on our new equipment. He was here for two days! He showed us how to do everything from setting up and printing our artwork onto the film, coating our screens with emulsion, exposing the image into the screens, setting up our press, registering our screens so the different colors line up perfectly on the shirts, then flash drying so the ink cures! We had a great time and learned so much. Some of our community partners have already told us they will place orders!"

click the image to see a slideshow

July 16th, 2009
Laura sent us the following email...

"Well our equipment has started to arrive! I just wanted to share some new pictures with you! We are getting trained this weekend and cannot wait to send you more pictures! We already have a few small jobs lined up! But we promise the first shirt is for you Ms. Jones!"

click the image to see a slideshow

June 24th, 2009
Wow, what an exciting phone call we had this morning.! My surprise call was all set up by PanZOu assistant director Mirva Cadet, who got a huge group together at United Fulford Methodist Church. She told Laura there was a meeting set there today about the project but when Laura walked in, she saw her coworkers, board members including Reverend Marta Burke, staff members, volunteers, and some of her young success stories including the team who will be operating the silk screening equipment. When I gave Laura the good news, I could hear a huge reaction from everyone in the room. She was truly surprised and almost speechless.

click the image to see a slideshow

Laura said she had been praying for this (maybe that's why it happened in a church...). I also got to talk to 23-year-old T.G who came into the program at 19 after being in and out of jail. He told me that Laura helped him start his own cleaning business and even gave him his first contract. Then she helped get him a second contract with the church. Fritz also came on the line. He's 26 and has been in the program since November. What a great feeling it was to hear everyone's joy about this grant and I absolutely love what Laura is doing and am blessed to be able to help.

06/24/09: Jenny wrote... "Laura, every city should have someone like you. What a great thing you are doing for the community, changing one life at a time. I’m happy to lend a hand."

06/24/09: Damon wrote... "Congratulations, Laura! This is going to be such a great opportunity for all you help. Thanks for everything you do for your community."

06/24/09: Angela Steffen wrote... "I'm proud of you! One child at a time! Congrats. You are truly making a difference in this world!"

06/24/09: Jeb Koury wrote... "All who first meet Laura Kallus soon realize she has a passion for helping others. She is without a doubt an angel on a mission. Our entire family is so proud of her positive differences she is making to others. She is available 24/7 to assist others within her reach. Let's all give her a standing ovation. As her stepfather, I am certain that I am prejudiced but all others who witness her efforts will agree they have been touched by an angel. We are so proud of her. Love,
Jeb and Royce Koury"

06/24/09: Kerry McCashin wrote... "Laura! I am so excited that you & your program are being recognized for all your hard work. You deserve it! As do the kids you work with!
Wishing you continued success!!"

06/24/09: Darlene Whitehurst wrote... "You are such an amazing person Laura. I can’t think of anyone that deserves to be “graced” with such a generous contribution than you. Kudos to Jenny Jones and her staff for recognizing you as a hero and acknowledging your relentless efforts to positively change lives! Even through this award, you will continue to give and give. You touch everyone that crosses your path. It is my privilege to know you and love you."

06/26/09: Amanda Thompson wrote...
"I cannot tell you enough how amazing you are! What you have accomplished thus far is phenomenal and what lies ahead will be even greater. You helped me through the most trying times in my life and for that I will always be grateful. You have a great heart and that is what makes you so successful with these kids. You refuse to give up on anyone and I have always appreciated that. May God continue to bless you and your staff! LOVE YOU PAL!!!"

06/27/09: Teresa wrote... "Hi Laura, you're so right on! Everyone needs a "purpose", and you are certainly providing one for these young people. Keep up the great work. Blessings, Teresa."

06/27/09: Brad wrote... "Laura, you deserve it. You are doing God’s work – one child at a time. You are a living inspiration to us all. Good will follow you wherever you go.
Much love and pride,

07/23/09: Barbara Ann Martin wrote... "God bless you Laura . . . not only are you beautiful on the exterior, but you have a beautiful, pro-active spirit. What a wonderful idea and enterprise you created to assist these “lost” young men (and women), both emotionally and financially. Although I had heard about your organization when I was the media liaison at The Children’s Trust, I came upon your web-site because I am writing a grant that combines HIV/STD prevention and education and is directed to at-risk young girls. One of the components is a gang-related curriculum. I left a message for Ms. Cadet as I am seeking a possible letter of support and perhaps some community outreach from one of your facilitators. But, regardless of the outcome, I felt compelled to thank you for your good works. I know that smaller non profits are struggling as they lose funding (we are fighting to build up our organization in these difficult times). So, I do hope you are able to keep serving and advocating for these young people, thereby helping to prevent an ever-growing national and local problem.
All my best,
Barbara Ann Martin
Jobs for Miami"

08/04/09: Maureen Prince wrote... "Laura, You are truly a blessing to everyone who’s lives you help change every day. God has sent you here to help those young adults that need the extra push and that special love you have to give to them. What you do is very hard and very stressful but you get up every day and are ready for a new challenge each and every day. I know great things will come to you. I also thank Jenny Jones for recognizing the great people that are here in our community helping out. Skye is so blessed to have you as his mom and I am so glad you are my neighbor. Take Care, Love Ya Maureen."

10/20/11: Niki Bourgeois wrote... "Congrats on everything you're doing for your community. You are truly changing peoples lives. God has blessed these children with your ability to help them. We could really use someone like you in Louisiana."