About Us

For nearly 40 years, Austin Street Center has been at the forefront working to help address the rise in homelessness and support Dallas’ most vulnerable homeless.  While serving as a waypoint to help our clients in their journey to independence, Austin Street has developed specific programs that are geared to provide hands-on support for women who are homeless, victimized, traumatized, and suffer with mental illnesses and/or substance use illnesses.  The Sisterhood Program at Austin Street Center, in partnership with Xela Aroma, works to provide an ecosystem of support and development.  

Xela Aroma is partnered with the Sisterhood Program to offer a comprehensive internship program that develops and prepares program participants for the working world.  In alignment with Austin Street’s overarching guiding principles, the internship is centered on the core values of kindness, trustworthiness, empowerment, and determination, further developing the interns’ proficiency in customer service, inventory control, marketing, and cost/pricing strategies, along with soft skills related to the interview process, resume building, career search and dressing for success. The Sisterhood Program’s Case Managers work hands on with our clients, who become interns with Xela Aroma to round out the ecosystem of support including financial education, workforce development, along with life skills and social skills training. As interns, clients work their way through all areas of the Xela Aroma, learning critical life, and social skills, which in turn supports independence, as productive and contributing members of society. Because of this wraparound support, coupled with offerings provided by the Sisterhood Program, interns build strong foundations that lead to financial stability and subsequently will resolve their homelessness. 

 As a generous gift in support of Austin Street Center, Xela Aroma, a woman-owned retailer, was founded by the late Maryann Mihalopoulos on the promise to empower women in business. Today, Xela Aroma by Austin Street Center maintains the pioneering spirit in which we were founded, offering the most luxurious hand-made candles, classic diffusers, room sprays and hand washes. In short order, Xela Aroma became the agency’s first social enterprise, serving a dual purpose of generating philanthropic and earned revenue, while serving as a hands-on work development training ground helping clients resolve their homelessness with critical life skills.  Xela’s products are hand-poured, using natural fragrances and essential oils, in Dallas, Texas by the women of the Sisterhood Program through our comprehensive program. 

 Through the launch of this social enterprise, Xela Aroma not only provides hands-on training and internships for clients of the Sisterhood Program at Austin Street Center, but it is also an employment opportunity for interns at the successful completion of their internship program.