Every parent worries about their child’s future. However, for parents of kids with disabilities, the concern is deeper. Adults who have some kind of disability have to face discrimination when it comes to employment. The reason behind it isn’t their lack of merit but sheer prejudice of the employers. Even if they are hired, disabled people have to face exploitation in the hands of the authorities and colleagues alike. In such scenarios, the family decides to take charge. A mother from Illinois opened a bakery so that her son, who has cerebral palsy, can work there. This initiative will open up opportunities for other people with disabilities she thought.
Margaret Cortes is the mother of Frankie. She was told early on that her son would not be able to speak or walk when he grows up. Frankie grew up to be able to do all of those things and more. He can run, dance, and jump as an adult. Cortes was terrified when he was young and extremely worried about how he will manage once he graduates. Her worst fear was that Frankie will have to work in some factory, devoid of proper human interaction. This made Cortes open the Special Kneads Bakery. Frankie is now a high school senior and works at the Special Kneads Bakery. He interacts with the customers and greets everyone with a smile. Cortes is really proud of her son’s journey.
CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2017, Amy Wright, is the founder of Bitty & Beau’s, the coffee shop. Her aim was to provide employment for adults with disabilities. Her children, after whom the coffee shop is named, suffer from Down syndrome. Wright along with her partner made it a point to take on board people who have some kind of disability but opened Bitty & Beau’s on learning that 70% disable people are unemployed. The shop now has franchises too. Another issue that concerns the families of people with disabilities is that they are paid below the minimum wage limit. Wright hopes that her example will inspire others. One of her employees helped his family financially by contributing the down payment on a house while another hopes to get a car.
People with disabilities should be given a chance to prove their worth just like anyone else. Wright and Cortes show us the way to a more inclusive society where there is no discrimination.