Candice Fernando was a desperate drug addict, lost, and living a destructive life on the brink of despair, until she found recovery. According to InMyCommunity.com, the day Candice’s two-year-old son turned his back on her, she decided she needed to get help. At age 26, Candice was the mother of a two-year-old, pregnant with her second child, and had been battling an addiction to cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine for 10 years.
She received a wake-up call when her son turned away from her. “That was the defining moment,” she said. Candice broke down in tears when her two-year-old blocked her out, and she began to seek out help to rebuild her life and her relationship with her son. She sought help at a local church that day, and days later she joined the Esther Foundation in South Perth, an organization that offers a recovery program to educate, encourage, empower, and enrich the lives of troubled young women.
It was not easy for Candice. She quit the program and ran away three times. ”It was a battle. I almost didn’t make it back,” Candice said. Eight years later, Candice has been clean and sober, raising her two children. She is a homeowner and a successful businesswoman. She started Catergirls, which is a catering company that works with graduates from Esther Foundation. Candice prides herself on giving other recovering drug addicts the chance to improve their lives.
Two months ago, Candice added another business partner, Kristina Wood, whom she mentored at Esther Foundation. Kristina grew up with missionary parents, and when they split up, Kristina’s life was turned upside down. She turned to drugs to cope. Three years later, she knew she had to stop taking drugs. ”I was working and I remember going outside and screaming. I needed to be part of a family, belong to something,” Kristina said. She also turned to the Esther Foundation for help, where she eventually found new opportunities to belong to something.
The two business partners have big plans for the future. Candice claimed, “Our vision is to become the Catergirls Hospitality Academy for Training this year.” Catergirls currently caters corporate functions for over 250 people, and they donate all their profits to Esther Foundation. Both Candice and Kristina mentor 14 girls from the foundation. These two women claim support and love got them through their battle with drug addiction, and they hope to pass that on to others still suffering from addiction.
Image courtesy of InMyCommunity.com.