Jenny, Becca and Michelle, with Dutton Farm, had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta for an all-expense-paid trip to receive the True Inspiration Award from Chick-Fil-A. Michelle took a few moments to capture some of her thoughts on the experience below:
It was not just that they took excellent care of us, down to the last detail, but what stood out the most was how well Becca was cared for. I am so accustomed to “running defense” for her almost everywhere we go. I make sure she is understood, is comfortable, can order food off a menu, and that she is safe. I can, literally, only remember one other place where I felt supported by the staff and that was at Disney World. I was so impressed that I wrote a letter to them afterward to say “thank you”.
At the Chick-Fil-A event, she was not only accepted but embraced (There is a difference). At every venue, we attended she was greeted warmly and tended to as much, sometimes more, than every other guest. She had an endless supply of Diet Coke, after they found out it was her favorite! It did help that Coca-Cola corporate offices are in Atlanta. She was introduced to most of the Chick-Fil-A corporate staff and she even sat with them for part of the time.
She felt so comfortable and confident that she left Jenny and I a few times to “work the room”. Believe me, that is a rare occurrence!
It gave me a glimpse into what the future can be like for our special needs population. It is possible for them to be included —and embraced! It filled my heart to overflowing! Kudos to Chick-Fil-A for hosting such a great event and promoting true inclusion.
Jenny is working hard on developing a business model featuring our fabulous products that can provide more inclusion in the workplace and to show the world there is truly “ A job for everyone”. Let’s keep up the momentum!
For more information about Dutton Farm, please visit their website.
Dutton Farm is a non-profit organization in Oakland County that serves individuals with mental, physical, and emotional impairments. Staff are friends (no really) and work is meaningful. Our purpose is to positively impact the lives of our participants through partnership, dignity, and contentment. We provide an array of activities that foster self-belief and satisfaction. Our Community Integration Program and our Dutton Farm Market offer employment opportunities to people of all abilities. Here on the farm, we believe in the endless potential and worth of every human being and their ability to lead productive and fulfilling lives.