MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For employees at Re+New+All Candle, creating wonderful scents is more than a job. It’s a second chance.
"I didn’t wake up and tell myself I wanted to be a prostitute, life kind of led me there,” Kelsea Vaughn said.
"At a very young age, I was exposed to sex trafficking," Leah Gunn said.
Re+New+All Candle part-time employees are victims of sex trafficking going through a treatment program called A Way Out. By creating everything that goes into these candles by hand, the company’s owner, a victim of an abusive relationship herself, says these woman can renew their lives.
“I want to give others the opportunity to shine their light and be able to use their gifts and talents for good,” Lee Howard, Owner of Re+New+All Candles said. “Because that’s what happened to me.”
Each candle comes with a personal touch, the signature of the candle maker.
“Our hope is that whichever name you get when you purchase a candle that you would pray for her, that you would partner with her,” Howard said.
In this job, these women acclimate to a normal work environment and gain crucial skills. But it’s about so much more, helping these women therapeutically with their healing process and giving them a sense of self worth.
“It makes me feel clean,” Gunn said. “This job helps me to feel hopeful.
"Like this is the first time that we get to use our hands for something good,” Vaughn said.
The product of this work helps brighten up homes. But to these women, this job has brightened up their future and allowed them to begin working toward new goals.
“I’m thinking about going to college,” Vaughn said. “My hopes and dreams are to see me a mother again and a part of my daughter’s life,” Gunn said.
You can buy Re+New+All candles by going to renewallcandle.com. You can also order on their website or find where their candles are sold around Memphis.
Know someone whose Stepping Up in your community? Drop us a line at SteppingUp@wmctv.com