A Chicago job training program is guiding young women toward the light of success through candles
Bright Endeavors is the light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel for many young mothers.
Young and expectant mothers have been struggling to make ends meet throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
But one organization in Chicago called Bright Endeavors has opened its doors to them and provided vital career guidance by creating a symbolic product: candles.
The nonprofit organization offers a paid job training program for young women and mothers who have struggled amid the pandemic.
The program focuses on hiring young moms looking for work that are between 18-24 years old.
Bright Endeavors make hand-poured, artisan soy candles that can be found in many stores such as Whole Foods, and private-label candles at places like CB2, as well as other shops in Chicago and online.
The candles provide a refreshing smell and set a calming scene in any living space. They are also sleek, timeless, and fit in with any style of home.
One-hundred percent of the proceeds also go back to Bright Endeavors.
One director at the job site, Sarah-Jayne Ashenhurst, believes that the candle program is the perfect type of employment for young mothers, who have little to no experience in the workforce.
"Our participants, who were already experiencing barriers to employment, now have additional layers and layers of challenges on top of that," Ashenhurst said to ABC 7.
Another major challenge young moms face is the lack of access to child care.
Bright Endeavors caters to this obstacle by ensuring employees can work around their child’s schedule, since many daycare centers are still closed due to the pandemic.
In the process, the women not only learn about the business of candles making, but also find positive attributes within themselves that mirror their parenting.
"I used to not be as patient with my daughter," said Maritza, an employee at the program. "But now I'm trying to be more patient because she is just four, so she's not gonna know that you can't do certain things or touch certain things."
The program involves paid 12-week training sessions that are managed by professionals that teach young women the value of time management, emotional control, and mediation.
Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal, the company’s director of workforce development, explained to ABC 7 that she has seen a positive impact on these young women’s lives because of the program.
"They really change and grow in building those job skills that they didn't get to exercise prior to being here at Bright Endeavors," she said.
The company provides an assortment of candles such as rose and vanilla, lavender sprig, and sugar grapefruit.
Along with their many varieties of candles, Bright Endeavors also has soaking salts that would be a perfect addition to any afternoon or night bath time.
To purchase a handmade candle and donate to the cause, check out their website.