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How your essential oil habit can help support women this May (and beyond)


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What if we told you that your vial of lavender essential oil is doing more than soothing your stress before bedtime? Well, if it’s a blend from one empowering brand, the amber bottle on your nightstand is a small step towards positive change.

Aura Cacia—the go-to you may already be hitting up for your collection of calming blends—is doing way more than providing the BFFs for your diffuser. And it’s all in the name of women’s empowerment.

“The power of positive change connects women from all walks of life,” says Shannon Ousley, Aura Cacia’s director of marketing. “Aura Cacia exists to help women achieve positive changes in how they care for themselves, their families, and their homes.”

“The power of positive change connects women from all walks of life.”

The main tool for accomplishing that? The Positive Change Project, an annual grant program started in 2016 that supports organizations striving to help women move their lives forward in the face of seemingly overwhelming difficulties. “The Positive Change Project works to equip women and girls with the resources necessary to further their commitment to live more purposeful lives,” Ousley says.

Scroll down to read about the real impact of the project so far—and how you can support its goals.


Aura Cacia Positive Change Project
Photo: Peggy Napier

How the pay-it-forward model works

By choosing Aura Cacia, you’re helping to move lives forward through these annual grants. Take, for instance, the Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which received funding in 2017 and 2018. The only organization of its kind in the area, the program helps women overcome homelessness and poverty with educational, skill-building, and support services.

“Aura Cacia’s funding helped CMC serve 43 women in 2017 through its Transitional Housing Program,” Ousley says. The program also connected them with primary-care doctors and enroll in public assistance.

“Since 2016, Positive Change Project has helped 13 organizations provide safe housing for women for 18,000 nights.”

In total since the program’s inception, $500,000 in grants have gone to organizations like CMC. “Since 2016, Positive Change Project has helped 13 organizations provide safe housing for women for 18,000 nights, more than 400 employment counseling sessions, and over 75 job placements,” Ousley says, “Plus, trauma-informed counseling for more than 60 women.”

The Positive Change Project also supports women-run businesses with a hand in social change. Grant recipients for 2018 include Women’s Bean Project in Denver, Colorado, which employs women who have survived incarceration, addiction, and domestic violence. How’s that for positive momentum?


Aura Cacia essential oils
Photo: Aura Cacia

*You* can be a crucial component of positive change

Building a community and IRL support network for women is a huge component of the project. Before arriving at women’s centers, safe houses, and mentoring organizations, many of the women have never known true support.

In fact, Ousley notes, it might be the first positive reinforcement they’ve experienced. “Words of encouragement might sound simple, but they’re incredibly powerful tools to motivate positive change,” she notes—which is where the community at large (and you) come in.

“Words of encouragement might sound simple, but they’re incredibly powerful tools to motivate positive change.”

To further expand its mission, Aura Cacia created a community called Noteworthy, a destination where you can find a soothing bath recipe, chat about your self-care wins for the week, and go seriously deep. “Noteworthy is based on the idea that when women encourage and support each other, incredible things happen,” Ousley explains.

It’s a simple habit that creates a huge impact, much like your essential-oil ritual. “Positive change, in the broader sense, is a community act—no matter what your story is, a vibrant life isn’t meant to be lived alone,” she says.

In partnership with Aura Cacia.

Top photo: Aura Cacia

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