Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic Flowers Change Women’s Lives

At every Olympic event the winning athletes are given a bouquet of flowers. Not only do the bouquets look simple, elegant and pretty, but they’re actually helping high-risk women get their lives back.

The bouquets come from Just Beginnings Flowers and Margitta’s Flowers in Surrey, British Columbia. June Strandberg is the bouquet designer and executive director of Just Beginnings Non-Profit Society, a flower shop and floral design school for women with barriers to employment. Many of the students are recovering from addiction, leaving prison, exiting the sex trade or are victims of violence.

Strandberg taught floral design in a women’s prison for 14 years and understands the universal healing power of flowers. “The girl who once stood on the corner to make money for drugs, doesn’t have to do that anymore,” she said about a Just Beginnings student. “Now she works part-time in a flower shop and she has her children back.”

She is one of the women who will create bouquets for the Olympic and Paralympic medal winners. “This is so far from where they’ve been,” said Strandberg. “Who would think they would end up so close to the podium?”

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