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  • Writer's pictureThe Pink Elephant Lady

The Positive Change Grant from Aura Cacia

Why do we sell Aura Cacia?

If you know me, you know I painstakingly research everything I sell - every ingredient, every company. That doesn't just mean I spent 10 minutes Googling stuff (although of course I do that too). I make phone calls. I visit people. I (gasp) read books. And professional journals. I ask questions like: is this zinc oxide non-nano? You say this ingredient is imported from Africa - is it fair trade? What kinds of solvents do you use in purifying this ingredient? Is there solvent residue left in the final product? So on and so forth. If it's not possible for me to privately manufacture a product, I need to trust the company I'm buying from. If I'm buying from them, I'm voting with my wallet. I'm implicitly expressing support in what that company does. I want to feel like I can really get behind that company's mission; I want to feel like we're on the same page. For example, our dental products come from Radius, a woman-owned, environmentally responsible company - the products are made in a solar-powered factory.

Feel free to ask questions of me - I'll probably tell you FAR more than you ever wanted to know, lol. And if I don't have an answer right away, I'll find it and get back to you. And if I find trustworthy information that contradicts what I thought was true, I'll change my mind. I don't go into my research with confirmation bias, and I'm no big fan of cognitive dissonance.

I get asked all the time, "What brand of oils are these?"

At my events, people ask me what brand of oils I sell. Unfortunately, most folks are under the impression that there are really only two brands of oils, and of course you must be selling one of those brands. These two brands, they assume, are the 'real deal' - maybe they're vaguely aware of other brands of oils, but those brands are just posers, and surely were started long after 'the big two'.

First and foremost, the oils I sell are NOT part of a multi-level marketing scheme (MLM). I am not going to give you a different price than I charge other people if you'll just give me some money for a start-up kit and sell them to other people. I am not going to tell you to drink them or rub them on your feet undiluted or rub them on your nose to cure your basal cell carcinoma (!!?) or make outrageous claims that are technically illegal. I don't attempt to practice medicine without a license. I will not use the meaningless term 'therapeutic grade' to justify price gouging.

I sell Aura Cacia oils because Aura Cacia is a socially responsible, environmentally conscious company that I trust. They encourage sustainable growing that preserves and improves land and resources for the future. They don't gouge their customers and there is no cult-like crew of indoctrinated minions (oops! I mean 'consultants') spreading unsubstantiated, sometimes dangerous claims about EOs. They've been around since 1982 (which makes you scratch your head a bit at the claims of other companies started a decade or more later claiming that 'new' EO companies are just 'trying to get on the bandwagon). But I digress. I'll get to my point....

The Positive Change Project

Aura Cacia partners responsibly with the people who grow its botanicals and helps improve life in their communities. Aura Cacia gives back to its grower communities around the world and has established the Aura Cacia Positive Change Project to help women everywhere positively transform their lives. Everywhere in the world, women of courage and determination are trying to better their lives in the face of seemingly overwhelming difficulties. The Aura Cacia Positive Change Project helps support them. Each time you purchase an Aura Cacia product, you support the Positive Change Project and the many resilient women it benefits.

What kinds of projects have received grants in the past?

The first donation after establishing the Aura Cacia Positive Change Project last year was a grant to Thistle Farms, an organization for women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction.

That grant in 2016 helped fund the development of a new program at Thistle Farms called Young Survivors. It’s for younger women who have suffered from abuse, drugs and prostitution. The program provides women as young as eighteen with a dedicated residential community where they can recover with peers who share their struggle and have opportunities to return to school and obtain vocational training. Individualized therapy and education assists young survivors in their recovery and gives them meaningful tools for a successful life.

This year, as part of the 2017 Positive Change Project donations, $30,000 was given to help fund Thistle Farms newly expanded Graduate Services program to help women who have completed Young Survivors. The Graduate Services program helps the women remain connected to one another, the Thistle Farms community, opportunities throughout the Nashville area, and Thistle Farms' national network after they leave the two-year Young Survivors residential trauma and addiction recovery program.

The survivor-led Graduate Services program helps women stay on a healthy, successful pathway after they leave the nurturing residential program, helping former residents deal with the challenges associated with life-long recovery and independent living. Even with vocational training and experience at Thistle Farms, women face difficult barriers to gaining employment and maintaining a recovery lifestyle. Graduate Services helps in the search for safe, affordable housing and offers participants access to emergency assistance with situations ranging from medical needs to home repair.

Thistle Farms provides advocacy services for up to 700 women yearly along with education and training through speaking events and immersion workshops. In addition to the two-year residential program, they employ more than 50 survivors in enterprises that include a natural body care company, a café, a paper and sewing studio, and a global marketplace called Shared Trade.

As part of the 2017 Positive Change Project donations, $20,000 was given to Catherine McAuley Center's Transitional Housing Program, a program in Cedar Rapids, Iowa specifically designed for women and their unique needs in overcoming poverty and homelessness. The program offers safe housing, basic needs assistance, individualized case management, mental health/substance abuse counseling, and support services to homeless, unaccompanied women over the age of 18. It served 43 women in 2016, housing up to 15 at a time.

The women range in age from 18 to over 65, with an average age of 40. The women served through the program have had diagnoses of mental health or substance abuse disorders, or both, and are usually dealing with severe childhood traumas.

The program provides the women with a supportive community environment to help them achieve stability, regain medical and mental wellness, heal from trauma, and set and work towards individualized goals. All activities, even Catherine McAuley Center's yoga instruction, are trauma-informed — meaning special care is taken to make the practice useful and accessible to women who have experienced past trauma.

The Catherine McAuley Center was founded in 1989 and has grown from serving 15 people in its first year to serving nearly 450 people annually today with a wide variety of programs and services.

Downtown Women's Center in Los Angeles, founded in 1978 by Skid Row social worker Jill Halverson, is committed to providing homeless women with permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community that fosters dignity, respect, and personal stability. As part of the 2017 Positive Change Project donations, Aura Cacia gave $30,000 to DWC in support of their Job Readiness and Supportive Employment program.

Each year this program provides about 950 women struggling with homelessness with opportunities to learn and improve skills that lead to employment — increasing their income, self-esteem, and well-being.

The DWC Learning Center, a multi-purpose computer lab and classroom open six days per week, offers ongoing classes such as Intro to Windows, Learn to Type, Microsoft Word Basic, Resume Building, Math Essentials, and Interviewing for Success.

There is also a Skills Enhancement Training (SET) program, which allows participants to specialize in one of four professional tracks: 1) inventory management; 2) retail sales; 3) café sales; and 4) product development.

After women graduate from the SET program, they may seek full or part-time employment, or opt to participate in DWC’s Supportive Transitional Employment program, in which women are employed in the two retail stores of DWC's social enterprise, MADE by DWC. (MADE by DWC carries used garments and accessories, along with jewelry, soaps, notebooks and candles hand-crafted by the women themselves.)

These training initiatives prepare participants for future employment opportunities, while providing them with other support and skills necessary to enhance their stability and well-being.

Are YOU part of an organization that empowers women and girls?

Consider applying for a Positive Change grant from Aura Cacia! Applications for 2018 grants will be available in August 2017. Grants will support organizations and programs that -provide resources and services directly to women and girls who face substantial barriers to sustaining their commitment to positive change

-help disadvantaged women and girls become more stable and self-sufficient

-reinforce the commitment of women and girls to live healthfully

-purposefully promote positive self-image, self-respect and self-confidence in women and girls

Nonprofit (501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations AND grassroots groups serving women and girls are encouraged to apply. You can find the grant guidelines here:

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