We had the good fortune of connecting with Chanookie Coit and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chanookie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Chanookie Coit, founder of NOOKS HOUSE, a nonprofit organization serving homeless youth through the use of Hip Hop therapy. Nook’s House offers Hip Hop Music Wellness workshops that provide youth with Hip-hop history and engages them in the healing practices that occur while creating Hip-hop music.
At the early age of 14, Chanookie was left abandoned due to issues beyond her control that were within her household. It was then, she entered the NYC Group Home system. After being moved from residence to residence, she decided to AWOL. Being on the streets was no easy task for a young female in the Bronx, it quickly led to gang activity, hustling, and abusive relationships. Without any family or resources, Chanookie was able to navigate her way out of the streets. At the early age of 19, she landed her own show on “Blok Parties” on Blok TV. It was then she started building a name for herself by interviewing celebs on the red carpet, such as Trey Songz, Maino, Mario, Chingy to name a few. She also collaborated with the VideoCityTv show, a staple Hip Hop tv show in the Bronx that highlights its local talent.
Although Chanookie excelled in entertainment, she wanted to work with purpose. She spent her twenties working at local nonprofits where she held roles providing linkages for housing stability, wellness, and other supportive services to the homeless population here in NYC. Some of her roles included providing case management for homeless families at CAMBA and Advocacy support to homeless youth at Safe Horizon’s Streetwork program. Knowing how influential Hip Hop music had been in her life while overcoming adversity, she wanted to create a space where homeless youth could get the same experience. She decided to combine her experience on the streets, in entertainment, and in nonprofit work, and Nook’s House Hip Hop Music Wellness program was born.
Chanookies plan is to expand the Hip-Hop Music Wellness program to bring awareness to the benefits it has for the youth. She also plans to open a young adult residence with innovative transitional programming in the very near future.
What should our readers know about your business?
Growing up in the Bronx, as a homeless youth myself and not having any family or resources was extremely hard. Like most homeless youth, due to shame and lack of understanding of my experience, I lacked the confidence to speak openly about what I was going through. I did, however, unknowingly at the time use writing and music as a form of wellness. I always knew music was healing, but was unable to fully understand how powerful it was until later in life.
Homeless youth often struggle with identifying their trauma, and finding healthy ways to manage it. Not having any support systems or people that they feel they can trust, they often suppress their trauma or handle it in unhealthy ways. This actually leads to behavioral, social and often long term mental health issues. Homeless youth are often considered the unseen, unheard population in homelessness.
Hip Hop music from its conception was started by youth in the Bronx, who at the time were dealing with a multitude of social issues. They used it as an outlet for self expression.
I wanted to create a space where homeless youth could get a brief history on the start of hip hop, have an open space for discussions on issues that are personal/meaningful to them, creative writing sessions with music mentors, and actual recording sessions to finalize their pieces.
Our workshops help our participants not only identify but also learn new healthy ways to manage their experiences.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Coming to NYC?
Check Out The Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx
610 Exterior Street, Bronx New york
Good Eats- Jue Lan Club
49 W. 20th Street, New York, Ny
Cool Observation Deck/Shopping/Restaurants-
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout everyone who believes in the NOOKS HOUSE journey, and the benefits of bringing culturally relevant wellness activities to homeless youth. Our Board, our potential partners, mentors etc….. A big shout out to the Communitas America Team for helping me strengthen Nooks House Vision and for all the work they do with assisting local changemakers in creating impact driven ventures!
Instagram: @nookshouse @only1nook
Other: Personal Instagram @only1nook Website under construction : Www.nookshouse.org
Image 3 – VideoCityTv