Shelby's Sweets is an organization founded by Natalia Jasso and Shelby Struxness. We hope to one day open a bakery that offers vocational training and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the San Antonio area. We are a 501(c)3 non profit organization, and we currently fundraise by selling cupcakes and other baked goods. We are involved in many projects. We support the nonprofit organization Aid the Silent by donating cupcakes to their events. We also will donate six dozen cupcakes to Gabriela's Cupcake Run, a 5k supporting childhood cancer research. Finally, we have partnered with the Food Bank this summer through the FeedSA initiative to help raise food and funds to provide children with meals this summer.
All of our products are picked by Shelby, who has fetal alcohol syndrome and learning disabilities. (She is adopted.) She is also fully involved in making all of the products, creating invoices, and choosing our partner initiatives. Shelby has said that being involved with Shelby's Sweets has increased her self-esteem, and made her feel like she is "capable of anything."
We have a team of about ten individuals with disabilities, and around fifteen of their typical peers. When we have a big order, we host "baking parties" where products are made, but more importantly, friendships between people with and without a disability are made! We also had our first ever Career Camp in summer of 2019, and we hope to have more soon!
As a home bakery, we follow all local cottage food laws and regulations. This includes helping our volunteers learn about food safety, and even working with them to obtain their food-handler's certificate. While we do not currently have the resources or facility to actually employ our volunteers, paying for food-handling courses and assisting them with completion helps them find jobs in the community as well!
In the future, it is our goal to open an inclusive bakery and coffee house where people with and without disabilities can congregate. San Antonio has a very large population of adults with disabilities. If you look into any day hab or adult day care, you will see thousands of individuals who cannot find work. We believe that this is untapped potential. People with disabilities deserve to be integrated into the community, and inclusion starts with invitation. Shelby's Sweets invites people with disabilities to work alongside their typical peers, and empowers them to develop skills that facilitate independence.