'Pay It Forward' gift will help break cycle of prostitution

'Pay It Forward' gift will help break cycle of prostitution

This week, we partner with Hill-Kelly Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and pay it forward to a Pensacola woman who is changing lives in India. It is tradition for many women in a village outside of New Delhi to enter the world of prostitution in order to provide for their families, Candice Whitely is offering them a different path.

Her home is filled with scarves and headwraps from India. You can see the bright colors and intricate details on each item. A hand sewn bird is on each one. The bird means strength because the story behind these garments is one of strength and courage. The scarves are sewn by girls between the ages of 12 and 18 that live in India. For many years, women in their villages have worked as prostitutes to provide for their families. Whitley said, "So when the girls turn 14, they are married, have one child and then their families force them into prostitution. It's a cycle, their mothers did it, aunts did it, sisters participating it. It's more of an economic issue, where if they can make the money they would make prostituting, they wouldn't have to do it. So we are offering them a way to make money in a different way."

They are now making that money through a non-profit that Candice and her friend started called "Sewing New Futures". Around 20 girls traded in life on the streets to work at a sewing center each day. The scarves are sold in India and right here in Pensacola. Candice sells them at shops and right out of her VW van at festivals like Gallery Night. She then sends the money to the girls each month. It doesn't take much money to keep them off the streets. She said, "The goal would be $150 a month, $40 a week, if we could sell 6 scarves per girl, per month, that would keep them off the streets."

Candice's mission hasn't been easy between travelling back and forth to India. .She's also spent countless dollars but she said it's just something she had to do. "Imagine not being able to have a choice. I've had a choice in every decision. From going to college,I can marry who I want, date who I want, and these girls don't always get a choice. We are able change how they live their life and hopefully cause a paradigm shift."

They have been able to employ a full time social worker to help the girls with emotional issues. They hope to expand it so they can help more women. Her friend, Krissy Greenleaf-Robertson has seen her hard work- day in and day out- and wanted to 'Pay it Forward'.

Greenleaf-Robertson said, "She puts in tons on volunteer work, she used up her vacation two years in a row helping these ladies learn how to sew."

Hill-Kelly gave the gift of $500 to Krissy to 'Pay Forward' to Candice.

$500 dollars that will help free 20 girls from a life of prostitution.

Sewing New Futures will be set up on Gallery Night on Friday, July 23rd.

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