Last month, Exceptional Entrepreneurs (an innovative ministry of Grace Church in Fort Myers, Florida) invited me to speak to a group of their parents and to share how I serve and guide my clients through some of life’s often frustrating and overwhelming planning decisions.
Exceptional Entrepreneurs strives to foster a safe, nurturing environment that offers job training, supportive transitions, and entrepreneurship opportunities. Aligned with my beliefs that everyone has the ability to be impactful, Exceptional Entrepreneurs provides a space where individuals with special needs can creatively use their own unique gifts and abilities in purposeful ways. The program also creates ways for individuals with special needs to develop their entrepreneurial potential through selling their products at events throughout the Fort Myers area.
Earlier this year, I had toured the program facility and got to meet several of the program participants and volunteers. I was amazed at the talent that I witnessed. There were a few individuals in the wood working area who were busy creating shelf-sized nativity scenes- just in time to sell during the Christmas season. One of the individuals stopped working, unrolled some of his blueprints, and shared with me his idea for their next big project. His creativity and attention to detail was outstanding. Every individual was working on a project unique to his or her own talents and interests. Amazing drawings, paintings, and crafts lined the walls of the building- ready to be sold.
There was one young lady who was busy making an elaborate green and gold wreath out of tulle. I learned that she often receives custom orders from people who request that she make a wreath for their favorite sports team. The day I visited the program, she was diligently working to complete a Green Bay Packers wreath. I asked her if she would be able to make me a Colts wreath, because I’m from Indianapolis. She smiled and said she would be glad to.
The tailor-made wreath that I bought from her, on the surface represents my (lately discouraging) love for the Colts, but it also reminds me of the unique talents that each of us possess. I am always encouraged when I see organizations, like Exceptional Entrepreneurs, that create avenues for individuals with special needs to feel purposeful. Planning for the abilities of the individuals in our lives with special needs often takes extra work and creativity. But the effort invested is invaluable, as it provides them with opportunities to contribute in a meaningful way and experience a sense of purpose from those contributions.