MERIDIAN -- A prominent Meridian company is opening its doors for refugees and others who are disadvantaged in our community.
Scentsy is partnering with local non-profit Full Circle Exchange to create jobs and provide meaningful employment for those who face barriers.
From the beginning of October through the end of the year, the organizations are working together in a unique partnership where women and men involved in their program work at Scentsy to roll out their new bath bomb line, giving opportunities they might not have had otherwise.
Maria Campos came to Idaho three-and-a-half years ago and became a lawful permanent resident in September. International Rescue Committee (IRC) referred her to Full Circle Exchange after she was granted asylee status, where she was then offered a position at Scentsy.
"I used to work in the fields," Campos said.
She says it was difficult to find a full-time job until she became documented and found Full Circle.
"It's awesome," Campos said. "They're amazing people, they're so nice and they're so welcoming."
She says working at Scentsy has been "amazing" and she's met tons of new friends.
Another Scentsy employee involved with the Full Circle partnership, Ngindu Mbiya, is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mbiya, his wife and their four children came to Idaho four months ago when they, too, were connected with Full Circle Exchange through IRC.
"I was very excited to come here and work for them," Mbiya told KTVB. "I was very happy because it's my first time to find a job here in America."
This opportunity at Scentsy and his involvement with Full Circle has helped him improve his English.
"It's a good place for me, very good place for me," Mbiya said. "We working as a team, communicate very nice."
Scentsy hired about 120 new employees to hand-make and manufacture their bath bombs. Fifteen of those employees are through the Full Circle partnership.
"When we needed employees it just made sense," Scentsy Senior Manager of Public Relations, Media and Corporate Giving, Lonni Leavitt-Barker, said, "They have employees ready to go, it's helping the community."
"I think of Scentsy as a provider of stepping stones that help bring about the skills and capacities and assets that individuals have that maybe no one would have ever recognized or would have ever given the opportunity to actually participate in this kind of a program," Full Circle Exchange CEO Mark Priddy said.
Full Circle works with underserved populations to help them transcend their barriers, to empower them and to provide purpose.
"When they launched their bath bombs as a new product we said, hey, maybe this is a chance we can get together... to really come alongside of an underserved population: so refugees, women in transition, women going through domestic violence, men who maybe have high barriers to employment," Priddy added.
Alongside Scentsy, Priddy says their mission is to help provide meaningful employment through holistic work force development
"It's in the doing of the work that they can see and feel and touch that, hey, I have something to offer, I have value," Priddy added. "We don't think of the population we work with - nor does Scentsy - as recipients of charity."
"They're helping us but we're helping them and it makes you feel good," Leavitt-Barker added.
Starting on Tuesday, Full Circle and Scentsy will also be helping these employees with continuing education, English lessons, financial literacy classes and computer training three days a week at Scentsy headquarters.
"Those are things that help them but it also helps our whole community and those are the kinds of things we want to be involved in," Leavitt-Barker said. "If we can help them be successful, it just helps all of Boise, the Treasure Valley be a more successful place."
"I have more open doors, more opportunities, more self direction," Campos added.
This program is wrapping up at the end of the year because it was for a new product launch. But both organizations say they're hopeful they can find other opportunities within the company past that.
"You have a company and a partnership with Scentsy that when they think of their corporate social responsibilities, Scentsy does not think of them as an afterthought," Priddy added. "Business can really be a force for change. And when you bring together business and a partnership and you focus on wanting to see the success of others, then what I think that does is it gives other organizations, other businesses, an imagination - a new lens - in which they would look through to say, 'You know what? We can take part in something like that'."