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When you want to read the alternative ending

From the time we had gotten our first media coverage, it was clear that we had identified a real need. The phone calls, the emails, the visits to the many people with a variety of barriers coming to us asking for help with their job search. The problem? Its not about skills or abilities. Its not about the value they can bring to an employer who will invest in them. Its about convincing the company to take a chance.

Over the first several months of our existence, we focused on getting the store open, carrying out a slightly complicated fundraiser, and establishing ourselves as viable entity. With two of those three behind us, and the third marked 'in progress', we turned some of our focus this fall to the employment program...not because we were ready, or because we were bored, but because the stories we were hearing sent a clear message. It was time.

Messages, calls and visits from adults with developmental disabilities, from folks whose path took them to a dark place, from parents of kids with challenges...they just kept coming. So, we've now partnered with a nationally recognized inclusion expert to launch a program in Ohio's most Northeast corner to create a cohort of employers that take a more inclusive approach to hiring and employment. Separately we have found placements for several individuals, many in a field of their choice. In each case, we provide guidance and support. Proactive training will be rolled out in the next month...or so. And placements will continue, because the calls, letters, and visits will not stop.

Ultimately, we cannot change what has happened in the past for anyone. We can't change the therapy that didn't happen, or under decisions that were made, but we---along with you, our supporters---can offer hope and dignity in the form of meaningful employment in a place where assets are valued no matter what package they are presented in.

If you know someone that is struggling to find their place in the workforce, or you would like your company to be part of the growing cohort of inclusive hirers in the area, please don't hesitate to reach out. We love selling local food to our neighbors, we especially love it because it makes an alternative ending possible....

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