I work for a nonprofit that supports people who are incarcerated through programming, and then meets those same folks to prepare and walk out their reentry plan as they prepare to get released. I see so many people who are beyond qualified, who are diligent, hard workers, but get denied from job after job without as much as an interview. Once this vision struck me, the name Haven Candle Co. took on a whole new meaning. I wanted this business to be a safe haven for women who are coming out of addiction, abusive relationships, incarceration, poverty, trafficking, and many other vulnerable situations.
And…drumroll…because of you, I was able to hire my first employee!!!! This is so much more than just some much needed help for me. It’s the first step toward a bigger vision to employ women and create a support network of people who will lift one another up and hold one another accountable to the intentions they have for their lives.
It is with much excitement that I get to introduce Kimmie. I met Kimmie in February 2018 at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women. I distinctly remember walking in the room and was greeted with the most enthusiastic, exuberant welcome from this lady with cool hair in the very front row. Fast forward three months, and I saw some new sides to Kimmie. She was networking, she was confident, and she had plans. She caught the eye of many of our volunteers because she worked hard no matter what the task at hand was. Fast forward another three months, and it was her graduation day. She carried herself with pride as her family watched her walk across the stage in a cap and gown. She was getting closer to her release date and was very proactive in her preparation. We were all looking forward to her “Welcome Home” as we call it.
On December 22nd, 2018, she was released. It was incredible to witness the determination and grit she showed in the challenges she faced. She never let pride get in the way of asking for help, she was coachable, and she began seeing the dreams she had come to fruition.
Watching Kimmie grow over the last two years has been such an honor. She still greets everyone with the same exuberant joy. She hasn’t let obstacles make her bitter. She pours back into her community. She has displayed so much character, and I’ve grown to admire and respect her deeply. So when I started getting a little more busy between candles and my full time job, I took a leap of faith and brought her on board.
So if you’ve bought candles from me up to this point, thank you. You’ve allowed me to grow this little hobby to a bigger dream. If you plan to purchase candles during this holiday season, thank you for supporting small, women-owned business. It matters. Some people dream of being a doctor or an actor when they grow up. I dreamed of being a small business owner and helping people. Thanks for letting me do that.