Divas of Comedy in the Spotlight!

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HHP had a blast with iO Chicago comedians modeling HHP’s fair trade practice jewelry and accessories! You can find these gorgeous pieces in our 2017 holiday catalog.  iO founder Charna Halpern and improv stars Susan Messing, Stacey Smith, Shantira Jackson and Nnamdi Ngwe who all modeled for the shoot.

At HHP, we apply the improv mentality of “YES, AND…” as we encourage consumers to say YES to bringing our fair trade practice goods to the forefront AND to making a difference.

#LIFTCOMMUNITIES

Handmade in the USA

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In honor of the July 4th holiday, we’ve chosen a selection of our Handmade in the USA products that we think you’ll love! These Green+™ items are smart choices that help your company enhance its corporate social responsibility footprint and encourage recipients to celebrate all that our great country represents. There’s no better way to celebrate the birth of our nation than with 4th of July promotions and incentives!

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Mahogany Octagon 12″ Quartz Clock

This elegant mahogany octagon hardwood clock features a white dial with Roman numerals and glass crystal with bezel. The Chicago Lighthouse is a non-profit agency committed to helping the blind and visually impaired. Fair Wage, Green, Made in the USA. Retail: $74.45

 

BE-2VOTVotive Gift Set Duo

Our votive gift set is like scented fireworks for your home. Each gift set contains two glass votive soy candles in Vanilla Honey and Aloe Lily. Fair Wage, Green, Made in the USA. Retail: $13.00

RX-BOTTLEBottle Opener

Sure to become the most useful tool in your home. Made in Chicago from stainless steel and reclaimed lumber destined for the landfill. Fair Wage, Green, Made in the USA. Retail: $25.00

 

GB-BROWN8Gourmet 8-Piece Brownie Box

Pack eight times the happiness with this 8-piece box of gourmet brownies.  Choose from Brown Sugar Blondie, Chocolate Fudge, Walnut Fudge, or Assorted. Fair Wage, Made in the USA. Retail: $25.00

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Jam Trio

Three favorite preserves in one fabulous gift assortment. A small wooden box arrives with blueberry, strawberry, and red raspberry preserves. Fair Wage, Made in the USA. Retail: $25.00

Social Responsibility at the Motivation Show

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A Snapshot of the Helping Hand Rewards Booth
A Snapshot of the Helping Hand Rewards Booth

To most attendees, the Motivation Show saw a decrease in attendance and overall size. For us at Helping Hand Rewards, it was quite the opposite.

The HHR booth at last year’s Motivation Show displayed six partners in a 40×10 space. However, this year’s show saw nine partners all having their own individual displays shared in a 60×10 booth space.

It’s safe to say that we’ve grown a bit in a year.

The show was more than just an excuse to taste test Greyston Bakery’s brownies, WHOWomen’s fruitcake, Divine Chocolate’s samples and Women’s Bean Project’s chocolate covered coffee beans. With a larger megaphone this year, we were able to meet several new people and talk with them about social responsibility in our industry. It was great seeing how several show participants knew of some of our partner organizations and had even done some sort of business with them. Many other people we spoke with were also engaged with other organizations outside of ours that also worked towards some sort of social purpose or socially responsible goal.IMG_0113

The show also provided a great opportunity for representatives from all of our partner organizations to connect personally. Many of us had only made contact via email or Twitter, so three days of interaction at the show and at the HHR dinner on Tuesday night gave us all a chance to connect, share ideas, and genuinely enjoy the week!

All nine of our partner organizations all have different social purposes and missions. They all seek to fill a need in whatever capacity they are able to reach. However, the main underlying goal with all of our partner organizations (and HHR of course) is to do business in such a way that makes our world a better place to live in by helping others.

Bright Endeavors: Jamie’s Story

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Helping Hand Rewards partner Bright Endeavors is a Chicago-based social enterprise that is committed to helping homeless and at-risk young women, between the ages of 16-25, gain the necessary skills to become self-sufficient, successful adults. They offer transitional employment through its natural candle line Dreambean Candles and provide each participant with the guidance and training needed to build a foundation that leads to the achievement of personal and professional goals. Profits generated from the sales of Dreambean Candles go towards funding for training, support, education and permanent job placement for their participants.

The following is a personal success story of one of their participants. It’s stories like these that make doing business with social enterprises make even more sense!

Jamie’s Story

Jamie was a nineteen-year-old single mother when she joined Bright Endeavors in May 2008. Initially, Jamie expected simply to learn how to make candles but she quickly realized there was much more to be gained.

Every day presented new challenges for her both at home and at Bright Endeavors. Outside of Bright Endeavors Jamie had experienced homelessness, inadequate health care for her son, the loss of family support and the everyday struggles of raising a newborn baby by herself. Frequently Jamie would come to work appearing to be overwhelmed by the various day-to-day demands on her, but she was able to find warmth and support with the staff and participants at Bright Endeavors.

One of Jamie’s first struggles was managing a work schedule while meeting the ever-changing needs of her infant son. On one given morning Jamie appeared to be less connected to work than usual. She didn’t participate in the daily pre-shift meeting and returned to her work station with little enthusiasm. In most work places this would be misinterpreted as an employee with a poor attitude and could lead to future workplace issues. Because of the staffing design of Bright Endeavors, a manager was able to pull her aside and talk through the negative performance. What became clear was that her behavior had nothing to do with the work at hand. Her son was ill and Jamie was out of solutions. The lack of support and erratic suggestions by her doctor to alter her son’s diet, coupled with the clinic’s inability to vaccinate her son, sent Jamie into a tailspin. Reeling from the stress and worry of her son’s well being, Jamie was paralyzed and unable to think of anything else. With Bright Endeavors’ support and input Jamie developed a firm plan; she was able to proactively manage the health care of her child, find a new pediatrician and elevate her work performance. Now she is a valued leader on the production floor. She trains new associates in candle production and often leads pre-shift and post-shift discussions.

In the future Jamie hopes to have a home for her and her son and be on her way to earning a medical degree, specifically in pediatrics. In her own words, “There aren’t a lot of jobs or programs that you can go into that are actually going to be concerned with what happens outside of work, and here there is always someone to talk to and help you with your problems.” She embodies our motto, “renewable resources…renewed spirits”.

(This story, along with others, can also be found at our home website. Check it out here!)