Life

A Helping Hand: Wouldn’t Society Benefit If More Employers Did This?

Sun Cedar chooses to waive profits in favor of helping the most vulnerable get back into work.


Last year we reported on a car wash in Austin that employs people with autism. Now another great little business in Lawrence, Kansas is doing something similar.

Sun Cedar offers training and work to ex-offenders, addicts and homeless people, giving a helping hand to many people who have never had a second chance. Work gives these individuals a sense of purpose and allows them to regain control of their lives. Sun Cedar employees take great pride in producing naturally aromatic cedar ornaments, accessories and sachets using zero-waste, Earth-friendly processes. It’s turning traditional business thinking on its head. This small company is a response to “unemployable” individuals and other folks in transition, who deserve a chance to rebuild their lives.

“We’re not giving up on these folks,” explains Shine Adams, CEO of Sun Cedar and a professional worker in social services. After hearing a colleague’s struggles of looking for work with a criminal record, Shine decided to give him little work right in his own basement. He’d been toying with different ways to make use of scrap cedar for a while. This seemed like the perfect chance to help a friend earn a few desperately needed dollars while trying out the idea of making decorative air fresheners out of wood. Now, Sun Cedar is a growing non-profit which is setting a shining example for others to follow.

With an estimated 12 million people with felony convictions in the United States, the challenge of finding work for these “unemployable” individuals and preventing re-offending is significant. For this reason, Sun Cedar has attracted several meaningful supporters, such as former members of the state Supreme Court and State Senate, respected clinical psychologists, social activists, and even musicians.

Zia McCabe, a DJ who some might know as keyboardist and bassist for 90s band The Dandy Warhols, was asked to get involved last year. “It aligns with my environmental values,” she says about Sun Cedar. “We serve an overlooked population.  We’re working to heal our community and our planet at the same time. By  doing this, we set a good example for other individuals and companies and I hope that it inspires people to do the same kind of thing.”

Sun Cedar is urgently looking for donations to a worthy crowdfunding campaign, which McCabe says will “expand the shop, bolster our insurances and serve more people.” The campaign will end on June 17th and has a goal of $35,000. Check out Sun Cedar’s Kickstarter campaign here or like their great work on Facebook.


This article (A Helping Hand: Wouldn’t Society Benefit If More Employers Did This?) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.

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