Bright Endeavors: A Brighter Life for New Moms

Light is a resource that every human being needs. It transforms the way we see and perceive our surroundings. Light alters our vision, and is easily adjusted with the flick of a switch, the flash of a light, or the lighting of a candle. When someone lights their candle from Bright Endeavors, they are helping to transform the life of a young mother.


Bright Endeavors is a premium, handmade soy based candle company located on Chicago’s Westside. The company employs between 8 to 15 young mothers through the non-profit organization, New Moms. New Moms  has successfully transformed the lives of over 3,000 mothers by providing housing, daycare, and job training assistance through programs like Bright Endeavors where 100% of the proceeds are reinvested into the organization.

Image Courtesy of Bright Endeavors 

The young moms enter a series of training, through class work and paid work experience at Bright Endeavors for a 12-week period. The ultimate goal: moving the mothers into job opportunities that support their growth and their needs of their families. So far, 67 young women this year have reached that goal.

Kelli Nelson, Jasmine Stewart, and Dana Emanuel 

The work done through Bright Endeavors not only transforms the young mothers lives, but the staff as well.  During my visit, I had the opportunity to meet some of the leadership of Bright Endeavors: Jasmine Stewart, Production Operations Associate; Kelli Nelson, Social Enterprise Supervisor; and Dana Emanuel the Assistant Director of Workforce Development. Dana gave me a tour of the small, but mighty facility, shared the story of Bright Endeavors and how it has shaped her own transformation in our interview.


Bright Endeavors focuses on seasonally based candles. Just recently, they launched their holiday collection,which consisted of three scents: Pumpkin Chai( because pumpkin is the new chocolate), Holiday Citrus, and Whitebark Pine. I am currently burning the Whitebark Pine and loving it! These candles come in various sizes, from votive to the 11 oz. signature glass($24.99).  The company creates these candles with phthalate-free fragrances which are better for the consumer and the moms who are constantly handling the material.



The quality of the candles from Bright Endeavors are top notch and there is a reason for it. Unlike some competitors in the market, these candles are hand poured and formulated on the spot. They are checked from wick to packaging for perfection and the high quality standard that the company prides itself on. The young moms are held accountable for their work, and they take pride as well. Each candle is signed by the creator. It is a reminder and recognition of their achievement to create something for themselves, and the desire to spread that motivating light to others. As Dana reiterates, “The candles that they make represent that motivation, that reliance, and that strength, and that dedication to the next generation.”


Bright Endeavors continues to reach new audiences through its partnerships. They have a fantastic relationship with Whole Foods, and are able to be carried in stores across the entire Midwest. Their partnership extends beyond retail; Whole Foods also supports career focused events as well as employment opportunities to graduates of the job training program.  It is truly amazing how one candle, lit by a 20-something year old graduate student in Dallas, is positively illuminating the professional development of a new mother of two, in the Bright Endeavors program.


Light a Candle Transform a Life by supporting this socialize enterprise. Purchase one of these candles locally, or on the online shop. Contact Bright Endeavors for group or solo volunteering opportunities. Skill build and learn more about the young mothers behind this very ‘haute’ brand.

Listen to the audio below for my full interview with Dana Emanuel and the team of Bright Endeavors.





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