A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor's People Making a Difference series profiled Dale Anderson and his chocolate shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Confections with Convictions. (You can read the full article here.)
Dale is a counselor who works with juveniles involved in the court system, a licensed builder, and now, after years of training, a chocolatier. What makes his chocolate shop so special is that he hires young people whose felony convictions make it difficult for them to find employment.
He wanted to find a way to help the youth he was counseling become productive members of society. The idea of the chocolate shop was inspired by the play on words in the name, Confections with Convictions. Not only would he employ young people with convictions, the shop operate with the following convictions (taken from the website):
- Making wholesome, delicious, high quality confections;
- Utilizing organically grown, Fair Trade, & locally sourced, ingredients whenever possible;
- Treating our customers, employees, and suppliers in an honest, friendly, and professional manner;
- Supporting environmental stewardship through our choices of ingredients, processes and packaging;
- Providing fair compensation for our employees, and for those whose labors provide our ingredients and supplies;
- Hiring people who have barriers to regular employment; and
- Working to make our business, community, and world more peaceful, just, joyful, and environmentally sustainable.
Since Confections with Convictions opened in 2010, 12 teens have fulfilled their community service by working at the store and 5 have gone on to other careers.
To learn more you can watch this short video to see Dale and some of his employees, read an article about the shop on the Huffington Post and like their Facebook page to hear the latest news.
Of course, if you're ever in Kalamazoo, stop by the store and pickup some chocolate so that you can feel, smell and taste the goodness!
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