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Eden's Story

Eden is Restoration 1:99’s economic empowerment program (EEP) for survivors of complex trauma/trafficking. Eden's focus is teaching and supporting trauma survivors to make hand-crafted home, bath & body products made from the highest quality of herbs and other natural ingredients. When we incorporate the use of herbs into our lives, we open up a whole new stratum of experiences that include working with and enjoying familiar scents and learning to appreciate new ones.

 

In June of 2020, we launched Eden as a pilot program, to test the market to see if the community would support our endeavors. We are overjoyed with the love that has been shown to us. Our goal is to offer two cohorts per year of 15 survivors each to discover the wonderful world of herbalism and all it has to offer.

 

Eden is not just about training survivors on how to make hand-crafted herbal products, but about creating a safe place for these survivors to heal. Teaching survivors skills are what most EEPs are about. However, at R1:99, learning the skill is secondary to our primary focus of helping them build their healthy community, build resiliency, understand workplace relationships, and to thrive in their new life.

 

The majority of our survivors have experienced a number of seemingly insurmountable barriers to employment, such as the lack of a high school diploma/GED (due to sex trafficking, in most cases), no legal work experience, lack of understanding about workplace relationships, and legal charges that can take years to clear up.

 

Building community + clinical counseling + life skills + spirituality = wholeness.

 

Eden offers products for men, women (including new mothers), children, and babies. We hope you will check out our products and support survivors on their journey into wholeness.

 

Regarding our online store, products are made in small batches to ensure the best freshness and longer shelf life for you. We welcome special orders and if you are having trouble finding that special product, please let us know. Quantities are limited! However, you can special order most products!

 

Many of our products are purchased as gifts—bridal parties, baby showers, birthdays, celebrations, and holidays. Your purchase of our products provides clinical counseling, clothing, food, transportation, and so much more to survivors in need. Happy shopping!

 

If you would like to learn how you can engage in this amazing opportunity, or you would like to host a home party, please click here.

Meet Mercedes

I’m Mercedes and I first met Restoration One Ninety-Nine (R1:99) when I was 17. I had just been arrested for sex trafficking (yes, DC was still charging minors at that time) and was placed at DC’s youth detention center. That’s where I met R1:99 and my life began to change for the better for the first time in 4 years.

I’m originally from New York and had been on the run since I was 13. My mother left us when I was 9 and my youngest sister was 4. My dad did his best to care for us, but he had a lot of health issues and couldn’t work.

There was a lot of abuse going on, not from my dad, but from older brothers and cousins. My grades were slipping in school, and I started hanging around people that started to exploit me. Somehow, I found myself in the care of an older “boyfriend” who promised to look out for me. Before I knew it, I was moving up and down the eastern seaboard having "dates" with men for money, and giving everything to my boyfriend. I just believed all the lies he told me about becoming a family and living in a big house.

When I got picked up by the police, I was so angry. Now I can see it was divine intervention. I had been arrested before and sent back home. I ran off again, was arrested, and sent to juvie and psychiatric hospitals more times than I can count in just 4 years. However, no one seemed to care about me or realize what was happening until I met R1:99.

They came to the youth detention center every Sunday afternoon. We did some amazing art together, had parties, and there were movie nights once a month with popcorn and soda. They gave me notes of affirmation that just blew me away (I still have them). I had never felt so much genuine love and concern in my life. And I wanted more of that.

I grew close to one of the volunteers and really looked forward to seeing her every week. After about 4 months in detention, I was placed at a residential facility for youth in northern Virginia and the volunteer asked to be my mentor. Even though it was 30 miles outside of DC, she came to see me every week, took me on outings, bought me lunch, prayed for me, and became my rock. She introduced me to Christ and because of her, I’m going to live in eternity.

Life since then hasn’t been a bed of roses, it’s been difficult. Regrettably, there were times when I lost hope and went back into prostitution. As soon as I got away, I’d contact R1:99 for help. I was never scolded or put down for my actions. The staff was always there to help me get back on track.

I’m now 30 and have been out of the lifestyle for 3 years. Even though I have steady employment, it’s a low-wage job that doesn’t provide enough to meet my expenses. Thankfully, R1:99 introduced me to Eden - a place to truly heal.  It gives me a creative outlet where I’ve learned about a healthier lifestyle and can generate additional income.

I get so excited when making natural products because I am not only getting healthy but am helping others become healthier too. And that makes me feel good. I’m making a positive contribution to the world, something that I’ve never been able to do before.

Thank you for purchasing hand-crafted Eden products and supporting the survivors here at R1:99.

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