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Helping young moms find their power and reach their full potential – Jasmine Stewart, New Moms

Powerful. It’s the first word that comes to mind when Jasmine Stewart is asked to describe the young women she works with as Family Support Specialist at New Moms, a Chicago-based REDF portfolio partner that offers housing, job training and family support for young moms striving to overcome poverty and homelessness.


Jasmine has been with the organization, and their social enterprise candle-making business Bright Endeavors, for six years and says the inspiring stories of the young women she works with aren’t slowing down. Observing and being part of those success stories is what Jasmine loves most about her job.


“You see the transformation, and to witness that is amazing. I want to give the moms I work with a platform to tell their story and be their own heroes,” she says. It was Jasmine’s own story that first brought her to New Moms.


“I became a parent in high school and had many of the same challenges the moms we serve at New Moms face while figuring out this beautiful thing called life. When I was 21, I entered the Workforce Development Program at Bright Endeavors. I had no expectations. I needed to work to earn an income.”


Jasmine’s dedication and determination, paired with the unique blend of supportive services, empowerment, and on-the-job training she received at Bright Endeavors, helped her start on a new path to realizing her potential.


“The people I encountered at New Moms and Bright Endeavors were positive influences and helped me make better choices. When I started the program, the most attractive part was that they had us set both personal and professional goals. No matter how big or small, they were there to support you and would help you get the resources you needed to achieve those goals.”


After completing the 13-week training program at Bright Endeavors, where she worked on the production line creating hand-poured candles while receiving professional skills training, Jasmine landed a job. She later returned to Bright Endeavors as an intern and was then hired on as a production assistant where she stayed for four years before moving into her current role at New Moms.


“I continued growing, and with every growth opportunity I was given, staff were always there cheering me on. They were so supportive. They reminded me that I could do anything, that I was the one showing up and doing the hard work.”


Today, in addition to working and balancing life as a married mother of three, Jasmine is in school to earn her master’s in social work.


“I used to be embarrassed to share that I was a mom at 16. Now I realize that my story can help other people, it’s my testimony. I want young moms to know that everything is possible. You can do it, no matter what situation you’re coming out of, you can go places. You can set goals and achieve those goals. You are powerful.”

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