The shell of the new ADEC Gaining Grounds Center at the Bristol central office is up, and the interior walls and the roof are quickly following.
Last month, we told you that we were breaking ground on an exciting, new Gaining Grounds location that will help provide more choices and greater possibilities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but I wanted to take some time and explain the vision behind the new addition.
Today, ADEC has two facilities — one in Goshen and one in Middlebury — that carry the Gaining Grounds brand.
These two locations have identified space within the ADEC day services programming which offer retail transactions: coffee, limited package snacks and art products made by individuals with disabilities participating in the day services programs. We want to bring that, and more, to Bristol.
The location, opening in 2018 on the Bristol Campus, will be an open-technology center, equipped with Wi-Fi and assistive technology tools and services, and a retail outlet to sell clients’ art, jewelry and other projects and, yes, a full-service coffee and pre-packaged food location.
The coffee shop will serve regular and decaf brewed coffee and a few regular and decaf espresso-based coffees. We will provide regular and sugar-free flavored syrups for patrons to add to their beverages. The goal will be to entice the casual coffee drinker by offering high quality coffee beverages. Each wonderful coffee product will be made from fresh-ground beans daily to ensure quality.
In addition to the coffee products there will also be a display of client-made products for sale including jewelry, ceramic coasters, and dog biscuits. The items will be displayed in an attractive and professional setting. The coffee shop will employ individuals with disabilities, be a focal point for members of the community for building relationships with individuals served and provide a venue for marketing products made by the amazing individuals served in ADEC Day Services.
A transformational impact
In an economy that has become increasingly difficult to find employment for individuals with disabilities, Gaining Grounds is a path to create jobs for those individuals.
Open to the community.
New separate ADEC program offering a coffee shop with Wi-Fi, music, outdoor eating space / coffee sitting.
Meeting space for young adults and families.
Retail store / art gallery.
Large room can convert to three smaller rooms (up to 150 people).
Can accommodate future Summer Camps.
Employees will be trained clients.
One agency manager, who also oversees all our coffee shops.
Every incredible program and service ADEC offers and provides is modeled to uphold the highest standards, the highest expectations, and demonstrate the highest of social responsibility towards our clients, our employees and the community.
The choices we offer are transformational and are central in supporting individuals and families in meaningful goals and activities throughout their entire lives. ADEC is a living testimony as a service organization that achieves person-centered planning by facilitating pathways to a good life for Hoosiers with disabilities.
Gaining Grounds facilitates transformational change for individuals we serve by offering a choice, an opportunity, an environment of inclusion, an extension of our community, and a potential to flourish.
We approach the wonderful individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities that we serve not from the perspective of what they cannot do or what skills they are missing. We view our clients from the perspective of what skills, capabilities, dreams and wishes they have.
Community inclusion and integration
This fantastic new center will also address the needs of the community – meeting and conference center equipment with practical accessibility tools. We will transform the opportunities and choices for the individuals we serve and the community with a shared vision.
Gaining Grounds is a coffee shop designed to showcase the amazing abilities of those we serve and foster relationships. Customers can see individuals — their neighbors and members of our communities — with challenges who are making coffee and jewelry; they can also see and purchase other products made by people with disabilities.
The coffee shop will provide an opportunity for individuals to build relationships with people in the community. It will also provide a natural, age-appropriate environment for clients to read, socialize and work independently while having support nearby.
Community integration will be used to educate the community on the abilities of the people we serve; to show how we are alike.
The new space will have a large meeting room for use by the public, which can be transformed into three smaller rooms.
Except for an initial manager and barista, all employees (from the sales person, to the event scheduler, to janitorial service) will be employees with disabilities. In time, the entire operation will be managed and worked by individuals with disabilities with minimal oversight. That is empowerment. That is true inclusion and validation.
We will be hosting an open house the first Saturday in November to celebrate this awesome new community space. I hope to see you there!