Confetti Company Gives Work To Women In Recovery

By Maggie Ethridge 12/14/18

“I want it to do some good because everything gets chucked at the end. My confetti is disposable, but it is made by women to help improve their lives,” said the owner of Leonetti Confetti.

woman in recovery who works for confetti company enjoying her wares.

Kylee Leonetti was inspired to start her confetti-making company after the overdose and near-death of her beloved brother. After a weeklong coma, he awoke. To his family’s great relief, he has been sober ever since. Leonetti was full of gratitude for her family’s good luck, and she wanted to give back to the addiction recovery community.

“I wanted to spread it around,” Leonetti told MINNPOST. “I wanted to be there for people at a time in their lives when they aren’t experiencing all that much happiness.”

When Leonetti looked around for a way to contribute, she was struck by how difficult finding and maintaining employment was for so many people in recovery from addiction. Leonetti’s husband, Christian Jensen, saw that potential employers weren’t sure if they could trust someone who had a known past of addiction.

Even for people without a known history, those who have been in the throes of addiction often have spotty or non-existent work histories. The emotional and physical challenges of early recovery can also make consistency with attendance and production a challenge.

Leonetti had already been considering starting a confetti-making company, and she realized that cutting confetti – something that could be done at home – could be the perfect job for someone newly clean.

Jensen and Leonetti already had a business and income and were able to make the confetti company a non-profit, dedicated to giving back. Only the confetti cutters make money.

After pinpointing women recovering from addiction as the most financially vulnerable population, Leonetti Confetti was born.

“Empowering women in recovery” is the company slogan, as the company hires and pays only women recovering from addiction. Leonetti Confetti is partnered with Wayside Recovery Center, a comprehensive addiction treatment program for women, and primarily hires women from this center.

The women confetti cutters work from wherever they can, and when they can, and make $10 an hour.

Teresa Evans, Wayside’s senior director of development and communications, offers, “Not all of our women are employable. They are all working on building relationships and trust. This is a huge thing for our women to overcome because of the trauma they’ve all experienced. . . . Kylee is a very passionate and compassionate business owner who is willing to put up the right kind of boundaries, help educate them on soft skills and be understanding when they struggle.”

Leonetti works closely with her non-profit company and the women they employ. “I want it to do some good because everything gets chucked at the end,” Leonetti told MINNPOST. “My confetti is disposable, but it is made by women to help improve their lives.”

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Maggie May Ethridge is the author of Atmospheric Disturbances: Scenes From a Marriage (Shebooks, 2014) and the recently completed novel, Agitate My Heart. She is a freelance writer published in Rolling Stone, VOX, Washington Post, The Guardian and many others. Find her at her blog Flux Capacitor or on LinkedIn or Twitter.