Spotlighting Jobs

May 10, 2024

Parents of individuals with disabilities become advocates the day their children are born.  We continue to provide advocacy and care for decades. But this is exhausting.  We need our communities to help us.

This edition of Another Normal spotlights places and programs that are creatively supporting individuals with special needs as and after they enter adulthood.  I applaud these efforts to help families like mine, and I’m thrilled to share news below about their employment-related efforts.

I hope that something you read here inspires you to take action where you live.  To have faith in an idea you’ve wondered about.  To explore an option for someone you love. To join together, in whatever way makes sense for you.

Most of us are tired and lacking the energy it takes to create meaningful change for our loved ones with disabilities.  Finding resilience is no small task.  Banding together for support, encouragement and a helping hand is essential.

Please reach out if you would like to learn more about any of the resources below or if you have an idea for something to be showcased in a future edition of this newsletter.

Most importantly, please be kind to yourself. 

Thanks for being here.

Nothing is impossible.  The word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’

-- Audrey Hepburn


Food, glorious food.

Having a job, for most of us, also means having a sense of purpose and a feeling of belonging.  This is especially important for young people with disabilities.  Houston-based Belong Kitchen works with area chefs to create daily specials and special event fare for its grab-and-go kitchen.  There, individuals with special needs work side-by- side paid staff and volunteers to prepare, package and sell each item.  Contributing to a team and a mission helps everyone learn and grow. Take a look below.

In Virginia, Positive Vibe Café offers free vocational training to help individuals gain skills for future competitive employment.  I especially like how well integrated they are with the local school district, serving as a launch pad once students graduate the four-week program. 

Tulips and toffee.

Not everyone wants to work in a restaurant.  So as much as I love hearing about inclusive cafes and coffee shops, I also am pleased to see alternative employment opportunities for young adults with disabilities popping up across the U.S. 

Just outside Los Angeles, there’s a florist and gift shop committed to offering job training and paid employment to people with I/DD.  Their arrangements are beautiful, as is their tagline:  Thriving through flowers

In Washington state, a special educator and occupational therapist teamed up to found The Better Buttermint Co.  They utilize volunteers and paid staff with I/DD to make and sell flavored candies and gift baskets to wholesale and online customers. 

If you like what these folks are doing, please share with others.  February 14th is right around the corner!  Candy and flowers, anyone?

Two scoops, please.

This Texas-based ice cream company is expanding nationally, creating hundreds of jobs for individuals with special needs. Does your town need some Howdy Homemade?  Learn about franchising opportunities here.


Penny for your thoughts.

I’m researching the subject of resilience and families with disabilities.  Can you please help me by completing this short questionnaire?  All responses are confidential and can be anonymous, if desired.  All input is greatly appreciated.

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.

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