What would it be like to go to work at a place where you always smile, people are genuinely glad to see you, and there always seems to be at least one coworker who reaches a new milestone every day?
That’s life at Bitty and Beau’s, a coffee shop in Wilmington, North Carolina that is staffed by people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) like autism or Down Syndrome. With a joyful environment that’s full of love and support, it’s no wonder that the shop’s founder, Amy Wright, finds it hard to leave.
“People ask me if I go to work every day,” Wright says. “I say, ‘No, but I wish I could.’”
Wright and her husband, Ben, are the parents of four children, including two who have Down Syndrome—Beau and his little sister, Jane Adeline, or “Bitty.” The children are the namesake of the coffee shop, which the Wrights launched in January 2016.
The family opened the shop in response to an upsetting stat: Only 20 to 30 percent of adults with disabilities are employed. Amy says she wanted to provide an opportunity for a better future not only to her children but anyone living with IDD.
In this episode, you’ll hear about the “Aha!” moment that led her to create Bitty & Beau’s—and the odds-defying young boy who inspired her to start it. You’ll also hear from an employee who says working there has changed his life for the better. By the end of the show, you'll be more able to see the often-missed gifts and talents of the disabled, and see why the fastest-growing coffee shop in the Carolinas is also the most inspiring.
Your car isn't just a way to go from one place to another. It symbolizes staying on the road to success.
The Lift Garage is a nonprofit aimed to move people out of poverty and homelessness by providing low-cost car repair, free pre-purchase car inspections, and honest advice that supports the community.
When longtime social worker Cathy Heying saw how transportation issues caused people to lose their jobs, which led to a loss of income and homelessness, she took action to fix the breaking point -- literally. Rather than letting cost stand in the way, she became a mechanic and built a business that would provide affordable car repair services, which kept people in their jobs and moving forward. Heying has provided affordable car repairs to more than 300 low-income individuals, saving them more than $170,000 and keeping them on the road to success.
Heying has provided affordable car repairs to hundreds of low-income individuals and saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep them moving forward in life.
Cancer and fun aren't two words that normally go together. And for children with cancer, a diagnosis seems to rapidly speed up the aging process. One day you have no worries, and the next day you're fighting cancer. But for Camp Sunshine, one thing doesn't change: a kid is still a kid. And they should have just as must joy in their lives as any other child.
The story of Camp Sunshine is one of hope, but also of inspiration and will to make lives better, even in bad situations.
Camp Sunshine provides retreats combining respite, recreation and support, while enabling hope and promoting joy, for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families through the various stages of a child’s illness.
Camp Sunshine goes above and beyond giving kids with cancer a wonderful place to play and be free. They offer year-round programs, which allow children with cancer and their families to share similar experiences and to participate in activities that promote normal childhood development as they cope with the challenges of childhood cancer. They are the only program in the nation that has year-round offers, while not only serving children but also their families. The program is free of charge to families and includes on-site medical and psychosocial support.
Camp Sunshine was recognized by GreatNonprofits as a 2017 Top-Rated Organization. They were also were awarded a 4-Star Distinction by Charity Navigator -- the highest possible recognition -- and is ranked about the top 10% of all charities.