CHICAGO (CBS) -- During the holiday season, the Chicago-based candle-making company Bright Endeavors does almost half of its yearly sales.
The company provides funding for the non-profit organization New Moms. And as CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot showed us Friday, the lives of these young mothers are being made brighter, one candle at a time.
At the age of 20, Alexis Lee was not only homeless, but the mother of a 2- and 6-year-old.
"I have my own car now," Lee said.
Lee said Chicago-based New Moms not only got her an apartment, but put her on the path to personal success.
"Now I have my own place. So, I feel, they helped my life elevate. Because I was struggling a lot back then," Lee said.
Lee said she's also a positive role model for her children -- 10-year-old Jalynn, 5-year-old King, and 3-month-old Alayah.
"I've been doing so good since I met New Moms," she said.
Young women who are pregnant, or are parents between the ages of 16 and 24, can take part in the New Moms program. They receive child development, parenting and prenatal education. They also get job training, to help them move into the workforce.
The new moms take part in a 16-week training program, where they learning everything from career planning to time management. Those skills are practiced in their jobs at Bright Endeavors, where the young women create soy-based candles that support the New Moms program.
The candles created by the young mothers are sold nationwide. Forty percent of their business takes place during the holidays, with 25,000 candles sold during that time last year. Bright Endeavors sold a total of 72,000 candles in 2021.
"One of the intangible things, that's most important, is the confidence the young mom builds and it's pretty incredible to see her, for the first time see, her have a job, be successful at something and feel really proud and accomplished in that," Laura Zumdahl, president and CEO of New Moms.
Kortnilyn Williams was pregnant at 19 and gave birth to her daughter Jordyn, at 20.
"Found myself stuck -- working like job to job, dead end jobs," Williams said, "and, like my daughter's 3, and I haven't been able to save up anything since she was born."
Now 23, Williams said New Moms has transformed her life.
"This program has made me feel that the things that I want in life, you know, buying a house for my baby, having a stable career, it has made me feel that it's actually possible," Williams said.
Bright Endeavors, not only making the holidays brighter, but lighting the way for new moms and future generations.
The candles are sold nationwide and online. Forty percent of Bright Endeavors' business takes place during the holidays, with 25,000 candles sold during that time last year.
New Moms was recognized in 2016 by the Make It Better Foundation in the human service category and won the foundation's Philanthropy Award. CBS 2 is a proud sponsor of the Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Awards.