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Ad Astra In Review: Sun Cedar

Recidivism, n. a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior, especially: relapse into criminal behavior (Merriam-Webster)

Shine Adams, founder and CEO of Sun Cedar, aims to end recidivism and help those who might otherwise be forgotten or passed over by the rest of society. As someone who has witnessed the challenges associated with the rehab process, from both personal experience and accounts from close friends, Shine aims to help others reestablish themselves in the workforce after an extended absence. Through my interviews with Shine and a few of his employees – Robert, Melissa and Jamie – I gained insight on the various ways in which he helps his associates.

Sun Cedar started nearly two years ago as a means for Shine to help a close friend gain work experience after his release from jail.

Shine works on cutting a cedar block into the shape of a tree.

Shine works on cutting a cedar block into the shape of a tree.

They found work in the carpentry shop in the basement of Shine’s house, beginning with simply cleaning the place out to designing and creating their first product – a tree shaped car freshener.From there, the company expanded to employ up to 15 employees at a time, with new products in the works, all of which are made out of cedar.

Robert sands each tree after they are cut.

Robert sands each tree after they are cut.

According to Shine, the goal is not to increase the number of long-term employees, but to hire and train employees with the intent that Sun Cedar serves as just the first step in the process of finding employment elsewhere.

Shine stressed that potential candidates are expected to treat the interview process like they would any other job – from submitting a resume to proper email etiquette. Then, throughout the employee’s time at Sun Cedar, he works with each person on how to improve upon their interview techniques and other skills necessary for the workforce. Ultimately, he realizes that flexibility and empathy are crucial for the success of his employees, so he makes that a priority in the Sun Cedar culture.

Melissa hand-draws the Sun Cedar logo on each tree.

Melissa hand-draws the Sun Cedar logo on each tree.

As Shine stated in his interview, the fundamental goal is to provide his employees with hope of a brighter future and the resources to achieve success in not only their careers, but also their lives.

Robert, Melissa and Jamie all shared some of their testimonies as to how they became connected with Sun Cedar and the impact that it’s had on their lives so far. Each of them spoke candidly about their experiences and some of the struggles they’ve faced while trying to find employment outside of Sun Cedar.

 

Jamie Interview

 

Melissa Interview

 

Robert Intervew