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CraveABLEs Serves Sweet Treats and Sweeter Smiles

Written by Alyssa Wilson, University of Lynchburg Bonner Intern

Ice cream doesn’t discriminate, and neither does CraveABLEs, a brand new SHARE partner and local organization dedicated to empowering and employing those with cognitive and intellectual disabilities through a variety of ice cream and desserts.

Special education high school teacher Taylor Perkins saw the barriers her students faced when trying to get a job after high school, so she decided to create an organization that would give them not only a job but a meaningful opportunity post-high school.

In Virginia, those with intellectual disabilities in the adaptive curriculum are allowed to remain in school and receive services through age 22. However, these students receive a modified/applied studies diploma resulting in limited post-graduate opportunities.

The heartbreak and feedback Perkins got from her students and their families when trying to maintain or even find a job, led Perkins to start CraveABLEs. “We decided CraveABLEs will not only employ them but support them and show their amazing abilities to the world,” says Perkins.

CraveABLEs has a variety of positions that work both in the mobile trailer and storefront. ABLE employees are those with intellectual disabilities who have exited high school and are receiving competitive wages. ABLE interns are those with intellectual disabilities, still in high school but learning and increasing their vocational skills. Support staff is made up of both paid and volunteered positions that range in experienced professionals in the special education field as well as those hoping to go into a field working with disabilities.

The support staff help set their ABLE employees up for success with accommodations/ modifications, positive encouragement, and support where needed. 

CraveABLEs had their first event in April and has many more coming in the following weeks, especially as the weather begins to warm. The ice cream trailer is available to be booked for both public and private events. It is stocked with delicious Homestead Creamery ice cream as well as additional options for those with dietary restrictions.

In addition to the trailer, CraveABLEs will have their storefront Grand Opening June 8 on Lakeside Drive. The storefront will have additional sweet treats such as dessert nachos, baked goods, and specialty floats.

To learn more about CraveABLEs or to book the trailer for an upcoming event visit their SHARE Greater Lynchburg profile. To see our interview with Taylor Perkins, Founder and Director, on The Mike Show, click here.

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