How honey bees help ex-offenders find new beginnings
Brenda Palms Barber didn’t set out to make honey. But after spending six years teaching work and life skills to ex-offenders in Chicago—only to see them get rejected for jobs due to the stigma of incarceration—the director of the North Lawndale Employment Network got fed up. So she decided to create some jobs herself.
The result is Sweet Beginnings, which provides ex-offenders with three-month “green collar” jobs manufacturing and marketing honey products. Bee farming is an unorthodox focus for a transitional urban jobs program, but as Palms Barber explains in a recent BuzzFlash article, it teaches an array of skills—from assembly work to conflict resolution–that carry over to other forms of employment.
For more on Sweet Beginnings, check out this BuzzFlash video by Dowser contributor David Soto Karlin: