Sisterhood and Second Chances: How a Duck Dynasty Star Is Helping Former Addicts
It's been a few years since the Duck Dynasty crew gathered around the table for prayer on their hit television series. But the Robertson family is still finding unique ways to spread the love of Jesus.
This time, it's through jewelry. Missy Roberson is the womanpower behind Laminin, a jewelry and clothing company giving convicted felons and former addicts a second chance.
"Laminin started about three years ago and it was not my idea. It was a friend of mine that kept pushing me," Robertson explained to CBN News.
"I thought there is no way that I have time for this and I really did keep putting her off, putting her off and the more she approached me, finally I thought I don't think this is from her, I think this might be divine intervention," she continued.
Like any start-up, Robertson quickly realized she needed good employees.
"I asked Ms. Kay who works with so many women at church and different ministries and I said do you have any women who might need a job? And she said 'Let me go ask,'" Robertson recalled.
She admits, her original plan was to employee moms like herself.
God had other plans.
"Six women showed up with all the same background. They are post drug addicts. I thought, 'Did I specifically ask for that? I don't remember asking for that' And she (Ms. Kay) was like 'You just asked if they needed a job'," Robertson said with a laugh.
A Second Chance
Now, former addicts are all she employs.
"It is not a criteria that I go look for. 'Have you been on drugs before? Great you're hired.' It's just that they're not afraid now to check that box on the application that asks have you ever been convicted of a felony," said Robertson.
While more and more companies are opting to hire former offenders, Robertson admits it hasn't come without challenges.
"It's a risk. Not everyone works out. We have seen at Laminin that our statistics are higher at keeping them because we understand the life they had before. There is no judgment. No condemnation," she explained.
"The ladies sitting around the table making the jewelry every day, the one next to you is probably worse off than you and vice versa. So it's a place or relaxation, it's a place of calmness. Not that there is not some drama," she said with a laugh.
Robertson says that supportive environment has led to drastic changes in their self-esteem and personal lives.
She also saw another change -- the ladies were suddenly hoping to learn more about Christ.
Robertson admits her own Christian upbringing was vastly different than that of her employees, so she went to someone who could help.
"I loaded them up in my suburban and we went down to Phil and Ms. Kay's house because they do have that background. Phil has been open and honest about his wayward years," said Robertson of the family patriarch.
"I didn't tell him one thing specific about any of their lives. He cooked us hamburgers and sat us around the living room, the famous living room is still there. He's still in his camo chair and he just laid out the message of what Jesus has done for each of them," she told CBN News.
"We got back in the Suburban and not saying anything. Not trying to push them in any direction. And one says 'I am ready to be baptized.' And then another one and then another one," Robertson said.
"I called Jase (Robertson) on the phone and said 'Meet us at the church building' and he baptized three of them into Christ that same day," she recalled.
It's Not About Jewelry
"That's the overall goal. It's not just about making jewelry and having a good life here on earth and saying ' Well, that was good. I am going to die and be buried," Robertson noted.
"Death is just a bump on the screen on the timeline of life. If you have a relationship with Christ and have surrendered, eternally, we are with Him and with each other," she continued.
"It's not about jewelry. It's about the women and giving them the opportunity to understand what unconditional love is" Robertson said.
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