At Ella's Closet in Belle Glade, a group of women are learning to make jewelry for sale in an effort to break the cycle of poverty and unemployment.
Nicole Eloi wants this to be a way to get out of working in the fields. She says, "I'm out in the sun, and I have high blood pressure."
Estania Eloi is unemployed and says, "if you work for it and come to classes and learn something you didn't know, it's better."
Nicole and Estania are part of "Mother's of Ella's Closet." Brittany Russell started the program.
Along with fellow businesswoman Jen Hernandez, this group gathers several times a week to learn their skill.
Under Jen's watchful eye, the women work together.
Learning makes these women feel empowered and when they feel empowered, they share that with their children and their community.
For their work, everybody gets $50 in "Ella's bucks," money used to buy necessities for their children.
When it's their money that they earned, the cycle shows signs of breaking. Because to them, it’s better than a handout.
Through the classes, there's an education that goes beyond making jewelry.
Estancia says, "It's a good feeling to learn. Just 30 minutes and you have something to do for the day."
That will go to helping her family feel empowered to change.
She says, "It makes me want to teach her something at home or something I just learned. I want to show her so she can learn it too and better her life, too.
That’s what her instructors see.
Brittany goes on to add, "The mission is to not just give a handout, but to teach education and they receive benefits and help for education."
For more information: www.EllasCloset.org.