The holiday season is fast upon us as some await the first snowfall, kids wait for the first day of winter break, and others are already anticipating Spring. Whichever you are looking forward to, some of ARCHS’ LRM partners are ready to help get you into that holiday spirit.

"Autumn Bliss, Freshly Minted, Bountiful, and Gingerbread," are just a glimmer of the serene fragrances that Crime Victim Advocacy Center’s (CVAC) Consolare candles have to offer this holiday season.

Consolare candles are all natural, soy-based candles, yet maintain a breathtakingly smooth scent for a healthier home for you and your family. Made from paraffin and soy, these candles are allergy, asthma, and environmentally friendly.

Consolare means “to console,” which is precisely CVAC’s mission. For over a year now, the organization has been brightening the lives of those in need.

This past spring, The Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis awarded CVAC $25,000 through the Youthbridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition (SEIC) to begin its Consolare venture.

CVAC Executive Director Julie Lawson found candle-making to be a great healing process for her personally. From her own experience, she thought she could do the same for female ex-offenders and victims alike.

“It gives them purpose” Lawson said, referring to offenders and victims who may be struggling. “Not only does the art itself help in a healthy healing process, yet profits from the sale of their products benefit victims of crime and violence with advocacy, counseling, crisis response, and more.”

Recently, Lawson and her team hosted a card-making workshop in which they “discussed restorative justice, rebuilding lives, and not repeating unhealthy, criminal behaviors,” Lawson said. “It’s really neat to receive a gift that was a gift for someone else. It was a gift from the offenders to the victims, and a secondary gift for whomever you’re giving it to.”

Consolare candles are made in CVAC’s office, and are available at www.consolare.org.  In addition, they can be purchased at area stores such as Local Harvest, Golden Grocer, St. Louis Curio, Looking Glass, and Steel Magnolias.

Another ARCHS' LRM partner readying for the holidays is East St. Louis’ Christian Activity Center (CAC), which is selling t-shirts designed by kids ages nine to 16, as well as holiday greeting cards created by children ages eight to nine.

“We didn’t sell the greeting cards last year and had a consumer demand to bring them back,” said CAC Director Chet Cantrell.

CAC's holiday cards, t-shirts, and much more are available at www.cacesl.org/store.