Greens, Goodies and Guidance

May 08, 2024

Another Normal is a weekly e-newsletter dedicated to helping families with disabilities bloom and thrive. This week’s issue is all about jobs. Parents everywhere continue to create nonprofits and social enterprises to meet the growing need for employment among individuals with disabilities. I’m pleased to profile a few special examples today, and my newsletter archive features information on many more. Please support these initiatives and encourage local businesses where you live to include people with disabilities on their teams. 

With patience, persistence and partnership, we can create economic opportunity for every person willing to work hard for it.

Tom Perez

Cooking up opportunities.

Rising Above Bakery in Rockland County, New York, sells delicious breads and baked goods created by people of all abilities. The nonprofit also offers “baking for life” instructional classes and is working to build a brick-and-mortar bakery that will offer grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items.  Does your neighborhood need something similar?  Reach out here to connect with the bakery’s founder and learn more about their story. 

Through their various volunteering experiences and talking with the parents of special needs children, the founders of Connecticut’s Sweet P Bakery realized how support services for children with disabilities stop when they become young adults.  They created their bakery to provide competitive employment and a robust baking class schedule that engages young adults with disabilities in social interactions, money exchange, and customer service to enhance independence. Check out their blog post of baking tips here.

Unique Sweets outside Chicago helps individuals with developmental disabilities build employment and social skills in a work environment tailored to their unique needs.  They recently partnered with Aspire CoffeeWorks, a Chicago-based social enterprise that produces “award-winning, life changing coffee.” 100% of their net proceeds go to programs and services for kids and adults with disabilities.  Purchase coffee and tea online here for yourself or as a gift. You can even arrange for a monthly subscription, regardless of where you live.  What a great way to support meaningful work for young people who want to contribute, learn and grow.  


Speaking of growing.

Greens Do Good is a social enterprise vertical hydroponic farm in New Jersey, where greens such as kale, basil and cilantro are planted, cared for and harvested by adults on the autism spectrum.  In addition to training workers with disabilities, the nonprofit teaches area residents about the benefits of locally grown food.  Founded in 2019 by the parents of a young man with autism, Greens Do Good grows and sells everything from wasabi to scallions.  They offer wholesale pricing and home delivery and even donate to local food pantries. Contact them here to learn more about this business model and how to grow something similar in your area.


Must-see TV.

One Garden State crossing guard is making a name for herself on Netflix.  Patrice “Trish” Jetter is featured in the fifth episode of Worn Stories, a docu-series about clothing that matters.  Her work uniform is a metaphor for hard work, determination and the value of employment for all people.  Jetter has contributed to her community in countless ways throughout her 27 years on the job, despite her challenges from cerebral palsy.  A story that inspires, for sure.


Daunting discussions.

Here’s helpful info on how to talk about disabilies with an employer.  Conversations are especially important if you need to request accommodations or special assistance of any kind. Check out this webinar recording for additional guidance and information.  Please share tips or advice below if you’ve navigated this journey successfully. We all can use a little guidance and wisdom, right?

Interested in learning more about one-to-one coaching? Contact Kris for information on what this might look like for you, including outcomes, availability, fees and more.

Contact Kris

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