We came across Revolution, a social enterprise in Lancaster, PA and were so inspired that we had to tell their story. They provide transitional employment and a supportive community to women experiencing homelessness or facing barriers. Read more to hear about their story and the important work they are doing.
We came from humble beginnings; our founders simply showed up at a women’s emergency shelter in our local community in 2014. They would braid hair, paint nails and listen. Many of the women at the shelter mentioned they had not had positive physical touch in a long time. It became apparent very quickly that as well as housing, food and other basic needs, these women needed community.
We saw the huge impact that showing up for our neighbors had. Not just for the women at the shelter, but for us as well. We started showing up consistently and loving well. That meant checking our presuppositions at the door and recognizing we are all women who experience joy, pain and everything in between. Regardless of status, we all have inherent worth.
From volunteering at the shelter, and seeing the need for community and transitional employment, we grew into a non-profit social enterprise offering two programs every Wednesday:
We work with our local homeless shelter and YWCA to recruit women into our program. Each piece of jewelry reflects the inherent worth women possess. We train our Makers, the women in our program, to craft jewelry beautifully. Once trained, Makers are paid per piece of jewelry they create and can leave each jewelry workshop with between $10-$40 cash. This income generation provides bus fare, groceries, and may be the only earned income they receive in a week.
We learned to see beyond circumstance and offer relationships and work that build dignity and hope. The pride and ownership of crafting beautiful jewelry is empowering, and our workshop is designed to be a beautiful space to create in. Music is always playing, and we start each workshop with journaling and a few moments of quiet mindfulness. Our goal is to give the gift of presence through consistent relationships and open hands.
We show up for an hour every Wednesday evening to do crafts and have conversation with women living in our local homeless shelter. There are no strings attached with this program. We seek to build bridges by being a part of others’ restorative journey. Childcare is provided, and this may be the only time the women have to themselves, without their children, in any given week. We laugh, converse, listen and create. Creating is such a huge part of allowing for authentic conversations to happen.
Although most of the women in our programs find us when they are experiencing homelessness, there are other barriers including abuse/trauma, disability and mental health that affect a women from being able to return to the workplace. We welcome any women facing these barriers and seek to be a stepping-stone and one stop on their journey as we help them conquer their next goal.
The best part is that no matter if you work with people experiencing homelessness or in an entirely different industry, you can still make a huge impact. This does not have to be a career shift or a move across the globe. In all the little ways you go about your day, I want to encourage you to ask, “how can my life be a force for good?”
Become a socially conscious buyer.
Our purchasing power is great! With our wallets we decide which companies succeed and which do not. Start looking to purchase from companies who have a stake in their community. By purchasing from them, you are furthering that mission and keeping that company sustainable.
Be aware of the needs in your local community.
You don’t often have to go far to find a need. Reach out to organizations around you and simply ask what their needs are. Once you find a need you are excited about participating with, become involved consistently. Relationships take time and nurturing. Showing up consistently will be the most fulfilling for you and those you are interacting with.
Don’t be scared to reach out.
Don’t wait for the perfect volunteer opportunity to come along. You have the talent of presence, of being. You can gift that anywhere. Find an area you enjoy and connect with and start there!
Interacting with people you may not ordinarily cross paths with helps restore belief in common humanity and breaks down the us vs. them mode of thinking.
I hope the Revolution journey encourages you to find ways to be in meaningful relationships, as they require believing the best in others, standing together, and having patient endurance. Life is a journey. Love it and live it well.
This post is brought to you by Darling partner, Revolution. All thoughts, opinions and reviews remain Darling’s own.
Images provided by Revolution