Written by Corina Vandenberg (Wofford ’23)
The nonprofit organization A Light Unto My Path helps Spartanburg women from all walks of life to overcome their drug and/or alcohol addiction and try to live soberly and sustainably. While the organization focuses on helping women manage their addictions through its 12-step recovery process, it also assists the women in growing spiritually and emotionally, and becoming reunited with their families.
One woman whose life has forever been changed by A Light Unto My Path is Lauren Pittman. Lauren started using drugs at age twelve, and was in and out of jail during her twenty-six year long addiction. She had been to five other treatment centers, but nothing had stuck, and she continued to fall into the cycle of addiction, despite her attempts to have a clean lifestyle. In 2021, she was on Spartanburg County’s Most Wanted list and went on the run for a year. Upon returning to jail, Lauren knew she had to change; this lifestyle was not only unsustainable, but dangerous for her physical and emotional well-being. She would soon be facing a trial with a record of thirty-two felonies; and if she did not get out on probation, she was looking at a jail sentence of thirty-one years. One night, Lauren got on her knees and completely surrendered to God, putting her life into His hands. Within hours, He would bring someone to her that would completely change her life. Just sixteen hours before Lauren’s trial, Shelley Bowen, the director of Spartanburg’s A Light Unto My Path, would enter the jail to visit another inmate. The Spartanburg non-profit had already helped many women regain a healthy lifestyle, and its impact would be once again expanded through Lauren. Lauren’s lawyer passed on Lauren’s information to Shelley, explaining that Lauren was a woman who had a true desire to change her life, but just needed some extra guidance.
Shelley had been contemplating downsizing the A Light Unto my Path program because she just could not manage it all on her own, and the two women could not have met each other at a more perfect time. The two instantly connected, and, brought together through God, they helped each other in ways they could not have imagined. The proceeds from The Lamp Boutique, a thrift store in downtown Spartanburg, go into funding A Light Unto My Path. Shelley continues her work in saving lives through the nonprofit. Lauren describes Shelley as her “angel”, believing that without Shelley and A Light Unto My Path’s influence, she likely would not be alive, let alone thriving, today. Lauren truly believes that God used Shelley to help her find her purpose in life, as she is now in training to become the assistant director. She’s been able to use everything that she went through as a means to help other women that she comes across through A Light Unto My Path. She remembers sitting outside what is now the thrift store, crying and thanking God for changing her life in such a positive way, and she hopes that others who are struggling can be lifted up through the nonprofit and the help of God.
The organization welcomes any kind of help, whether that be through donation, sponsorship, volunteerism, or even just spreading the word of their organization. You can find The Lamp Boutique thrift store at 406 E. Main St, Spartanburg and keep up with their latest items here.
“Thy word is a lamp for my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalms 119:105
Video by Ally Branzuela (Wofford ’23)