The Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation
Olga’s Entrepreneurial Legacy Lives On
Announcing the 2023 recipients of The Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation grants to honor the legacy of Olga’s Kitchen’s late founder.
Olga Loizon was a trailblazer in Southeast Michigan’s restaurant industry, using perseverance and innovation to overcome countless obstacles and achieve success.
The Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation is thrilled to provide this year's woman entrepreneurs with $50,000 in grants to take their businesses to the next level. Meet these visionaries below.
Meet our 2023 Grant Recipients
LISA SESSION - DABOMB TACO
Conceptualized, owned, and operated by Lisa A. Session—DA BOMB TACO combines authentic Mexican flavors, expert craftsmanship and genuine hospitality to provide an experience that is guaranteed to blow you away!
The enticing menu features bomb tacos such as Carne Asada, Smoky Chicken Tinga, and Blackened Shrimp; plus, bomb sides like fresh guacamole and gluten-free queso dip served with taco-seasoned tortilla chips. Their Signature Eloté starts with fresh corn-on-the-cob, which is then chargrilled, steamed to doneness, flash-fried to order and finished with chipotle aioli and cotija cheese. They value genuine hospitality wholeheartedly, and aim to treat and feed their guests as they would their dearest friends and family. Currently, DA BOMB TACO operates as a food truck serving metro-Detroit and is gearing up to launch full-time in June 2023!
Lisa A. Session boasts a passion for hospitality, a dream to become a restaurateur, and a purpose to serve. She possesses a degree in business finance from Howard University, and a degree in applied science from Schoolcraft College—where she studied culinary arts. Combine these attributes with her extensive restaurant experience, and Lisa is uniquely poised to lead this operation competitively and successfully.
With the help of this generous grant from the Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation, DA BOMB TACO will launch with positive cashflow and more rapidly open their first of many brick-and-mortar locations—bringing ‘explosively flavorful tacos & more’ to Detroit neighborhoods and beyond!DABOMB TACO
MELISSA AND ROBYN CHILDERS - WELCOME HOME YOGA & WELLNESS
Welcome Home Yoga & Wellness was founded in 2018 by business partners and married couple, Robyn and Melissa Childers, with a belief in making yoga and wellness accessible to all. After a life-threatening car accident in 2009, Robyn discovered a healing pathway through yoga, meditation and recovery.
Robyn began to heal, experienced profound self-integration, and developed a strong desire to share these incredible benefits with others. In 2014, Robyn became a certified yoga teacher, and met wife Melissa in 2015. Shortly after they began dating, with Robyn’s background in yoga and Melissa’s lifelong career in massage therapy, if wasn’t long before they began to dream of one day opening up a space together. After a long, challenging build out process, the couple is living their dream in Detroit’s historic
Avenue of Fashion, newly located at Seven Mile and Livernois Avenue. Welcome Home Yoga & Wellness opened its doors last fall, in October 2022, in service to the community. Robyn teaches yoga & meditation classes, mentors new teachers, develops educational programming. Melissa oversees the wellness center side of the business, mentoring wellness practitioners, managing inventory and offering a unique approach to bodywork, integrating a variety of techniques, specializing in therapeutic massage with a focus on trauma- related recovery, athletic-related recovery, postural deviation correction, joint manipulation, as well as client education on self care. Together, they co-create and organize many special wellness events—including their upcoming annual June 11th Pride-themed 5k run/walk + outdoor yoga event in Detroit’s Palmer Park.
Robyn is a Wayne State University Alum, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program Scholar, 5th year lululemon Brand Ambassador, marathon runner, and serves on the Board of People for Palmer Park.
Melissa studied elementary education at Eastern Michigan University, graduated from The Michigan School of Myomassology in 2003, and recently completed her first half marathon in 2022. When the couple aren’t working or training for races, they enjoy volunteering for local like-minded non-profits, cooking new recipes at home, reading books, gardening and spending time adventuring with their two adorable mastiffs.WELCOME HOME YOGA & WELLNESS
ALICIA MCKAY - NO FEAR CAFE
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Alicia McKay has been an educator in many different capacities including tutor, teacher, and math interventionist. As a strong believer in closing the learning gap, Alicia is focused on positively impacting the educational opportunities available for all students. She shares her 20+ years of experience in educational leadership, consulting, and program development to focus on her mission to enhance communities through math and science by creating innovative STEM-based youth programming.
With ingenuity and aspiration, Alicia founded No Fear Cafe, a co-learning space which provides fun and engaging STEM-based enrichment experiences, after school, and summer programs promoting career readiness and academic excellence for families, schools, and organizations.
Our work positively impacts the lives of our students and their communities. No Fear Cafe makes a difference in economic and social well-being by promoting academic excellence and exposure to lucrative STEM career fields.
Through No Fear Cafe, Alicia has developed and led effective programs, workshops, lessons, and curriculum to help students to reach their highest potential.NO FEAR CAFE
SHELLY WATTS - MUIRNEEN EQUESTRIAN
Muirneen Equestrian is a woman, minority, and veteran-owned company that designs riding clothing with unmatched beauty, quality, and size inclusivity. The mission of Muirneen is to inspire diversity, body positivity, and kindness in horse sports.MUIRNEEN EQUESTRIAN
Meet our 2022 Grant Recipients
Aiyenede AKHIGBE - STICKY SPOONS JAM
Sticky Spoons Jam a company that specializes in the production of jams, jellies and syrup using locally sourced products from Michigan farms and small businesses.
United States Navy veteran Aiyenede Akhigbe, also known as “The Crazy Jam Lady”, founded Sticky Spoons Jam in 2016 while trying to find ways to feed her children preservative-free foods. Today, it creates more than 100 unique flavors—including Lunar Eclipse, Summer Solstice, Winter Jelly and Blueberry Lavender.
Currently, Sticky Spoons primarily sells its products at local Michigan and Indiana farmers markets. The company will use the Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation grant money to open its first licensed kitchen and storefront, as well as an e-commerce website. All are expected to be online in 2023.STICKY SPOONS JAM
Sandy Jonick founded U-Plant Landscape Designs in 2019, and has since designed more than 300 landscape plans for West Michigan homeowners. By providing digital landscape designs, a detailed plant list and labeled images, U-Plant helps turn homeowners’ DIY dreams into a blueprint reality.
U-Plant’s grant money from the Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation will go towards fully funding the business's marketing program and capital needs. This will lead to expanding the business into other markets, beautifying communities and making them an influential part of the environment.U-PLANT LANDSCAPE DESIGNS