May 21, 2013

Sustainability is cultivated in many forms by the 2000 Roses Foundation. The Dallas-based organization has grown from a nonprofit that provides transitional housing for formerly incarcerated women to operating an upscale resale store that supports occupational training for the women to promoting community preservation. Together its objectives give new purpose to people, products and neighborhoods.
The mosaic "Broken Pieces" on the wall of the Rose Garden was created by clients of 2000 Roses from pieces of broken glass and ceramics. It is symbolic of the mission of the Foundation.  

Founded in 1999 by Kelly Wiley and Alonzo Harris, initially the foundation focused exclusively on the needs of women re-entering society after incarceration, in particular those affected by substance abuse or domestic violence. They officially chartered the 2000 Roses Foundation and opened a 501 (c) (3), non-profit Transitional Living Center.  

The 2000 Roses Foundation was founded by Kelly Wiley and Alonzo Harris.               

The organization still helps formerly incarcerated women by providing safe, transitional housing. However it has expanded to also support the women in other ways.

The Rose Garden store is a training center where the women can learn to make candles, jewelry, tie-dyed scarves and other items. The store is also selling the items thus 2000 Roses’ is also teaching entrepreneurship.The Rose Garden’s homemade organic candles are a customer favorite.

“With the candle market, the data we found was astonishing from an industry growth perspective," said Harris. "It afforded us an excellent opportunity to provide job training in a booming industry with modest upfront costs, yet excellent margins and return on our investments.”

At the heart of the organization, Wiley and Harris always remain motivated by a personal understanding of the challenges that these women face as they leave prison and transition to society. Both accomplished business professionals, each has experienced the criminal justice system and therefore feel strongly about wanting to close the information gap regarding available services for the formerly incarcerated and their families.

         
 Rose Garden Store, Tie-dyed scarves, Recycled glass by Austin James

The Rose Garden store is located on the corner of Tyler and West Davis and has been there for about eight years selling not only the candles, but also items such as jewelry, clothing, pillows and all kinds of recycled home décor. Indeed, the organization and the store are definitely in line with sustainability and recycling.

“Several items that we sell are made by present and past clients we've worked with,” Wiley explains. “Recycling isn't new for us at the Rose Garden, we have learned to use just about everything that comes through our hands to make something new or repurposed.”

Green Source DFW Board of Advisors member and architect Alicia Quintans is a strong supporter of both the shop and the organization saying: “I met Kelly Wiley, founder and executive director of 2000 Roses, at the re-sale shop The Rose Garden. My husband and I shop there frequently for unique accessories and clothing and appreciate the mission of helping displaced women get back on their feet.”

Quintans and Wiley also have a common bond in working with the Tenth Street Historic District one of the only remaining intact Freedman's Towns in the nation. 

“I joined the city's Task Force for the district and she and Alonzo Harris purchased property in the area,” Quintans explains. “They needed an architect and advisor to assist with rehabilitating existing structures and creating a vision for new affordable housing in the area. My interest with helping the historic district stay intact coincided with their mission to provide a community and housing.”

With assistance from Preservation Dallas and many other organizations and volunteers, 2000 Roses Foundation has now played an important role in developing a neighborhood association and community for the Tenth Street Historic District. “This is a work in progress,” Quintans adds.

The foundation is also working on a landscaping business.

“Our landscaping venture is seasonal in nature, but it also offers a diverse approach and includes lawn maintenance, growing and selling flowers, community gardening and subcontracting with larger prime contractors,” Harris says. “All of our business ventures are strategically and well designed for long term success.”

Overall, 2000 Roses helps women reintegrate into society. They help with day-to-day life skills and monitor activity to help eliminate bad habits Wiley explains.  

“The store creates a safe place to try new things, learn new skills and implement them in a retail environment. One of our mottos is 'Each one, Teach one.' It's our responsibility to each client to give them an opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment.”

Wiley says too that this helps the community by saving thousands of dollars, by teaching each woman how to take care of herself, which results in her being able to take care of her family. Add to this, the landscaping in working with the Earth and the candle making and it is easy to see that having that entrepreneurial spirit helps folks learn to take care of themselves and the planet.

“2000 Roses is driven by the entrepreneurial spirit and keen insights of anticipating where the next opportunity will occur,” Harris says.

Wiley concluded: “For a long time my philosophy has been 'Everything has a purpose.' The trick is to find it and do something with it.”


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Comments (1)

  • anon
    Anonymous (not verified)

    Excellent metaphor; from “Broken Pieces” to a mosaic of beauty and completeness. Shows us all what can be done with a bit of creativity, support, and glue of course. What you guys have done with the women you serve and with your own lives is an example of what we all can do with a Supreme Relationship and a strong determination. Then throw in some great clothes, unique jewelry, and of course, some aromatic candles and voila—made-over-lives and a thriving community of service.

    Dr. Debra Nixon (a faithful, out-of-town customer)

    May 28, 2013