Pennsylvania Flower Shop empowers people with special needs to flourish
“I sent out 135 invitations for a coffee at my house, and quietly a large group of people came with their children,” she said. “And at this meeting, we decided that we would all like to continue to meet regularly.”
They formed the Chester County Down Syndrome Interest Group, which has been a support system for local families for over two decades.
Through this community, Elaine met Colleen Brennan, whose daughter also has special needs. Their friendship would later blossom when they became co-managers of Kati Mac Floral Designs.
“It was a dream,” Colleen said. “We really wanted to create an environment where people with special needs could come to work.”
The couple founded the Kati Mac Education Foundation after taking over the pre-existing flower shop. They opened the doors last summer to help potential employees like their own children.
“My daughter Emily, she’s been looking for different jobs since she graduated from high school,” Elaine said. “But the idea of having a nine-to-five job just didn’t come to him.”
Emily’s week was made up like a puzzle of several jobs with two or three hour work windows. But she found more opportunities to grow at Kati Mac Floral Designs.
“People with special needs like to work all the time,” she said. “And that’s a special feeling.”
Kati Mac employs six people with special needs, two of whom are part of the Chester County Intermediate Unit Discovery Program. Everyone is trained to participate in all stages of the flower arranging process.
“It may take a little longer for someone with special needs to complete a task,” Colleen said. “We give them that time.”
These Chester County moms hope these opportunities extend far beyond the four walls of their flower shop.
“We hoped that by creating this work environment at Kati Mac, we create a lasting and loving employment opportunity that will be reflected not only in West Chester, but in the Chester County community as a whole,” said Elaine . .
To learn more about Kati Mac Floral Designs, visit their website.
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