Hello world! We're so excited that you're here! We have discussed adding a blog to our website for a while now and are so happy to finally be taking the plunge! What better way to keep in touch, share sunny stories and spread the sunshine?!?
I'm Laurin, one of the co-founders of PFS and I guess the best way to start our very first blog post is with a brief history of Pockets Full of Sunshine (PFS) and where we are today!
My friend and partner Dayna and I started PFS in 2014. We both work in special education and could not love it more. The special students we teach are amazing human beings, kind and happy, literal rays of sunshine! Since we love our students and their families so much, it is only natural to think about where they will go and what will become of them when they finish school at the age of 21. Dayna and I soon found that the current options for adults with disabilities in our local area were quite limited. We know how capable our students are with a little assistance and how proud they feel of themselves after a job well done. We believe that when they grow up, they deserve as many opportunities as possible, just like their non-disabled peers.
Although we had this conviction, it wasn't until Dayna's brother, who works in the automotive industry, sent her a box of "sunshines" that we got our inspiration.
The 'sunshines' are the inside punch out or 'bi-product' of an automotive warning label that goes over a part in a car engine. This cute little piece of trash was not only yellow and shaped like a sunshine, but it was also not recyclable. Since this wonderful labeling company has a limited landfill policy, they wanted to find something to do with the bi-products. Dayna's brother thought that his very creative, environmentally conscious, special education teacher of a sister might have some ideas, and sent us our very first box of sunshines!
Our wheels began turning as we brainstormed ways to use the cutest piece of garbage we had ever seen. One thought led to another and we decided that using the recycled sunshines to create jobs for adults with special needs was the way to go and Pockets Full of Sunshine was born!
We wanted to create employment that was fun, creative and inclusive. For years people with disabilities have been limited to jobs that are repetitive, boring and tucked away from the public eye. We know from our teaching experience that people of every ability flourish and learn the most when they are included and stimulated, and this is what we envisioned for PFS.
We began meeting with a small group of local adults with disabilities in our spare time and became a 501c3 certified non-profit in April of 2015. Fast forward to today, we have an amazing group of 12 adults with various intellectual and physical disabilities who meet every weekend to socialize and create sunshine crafts. Our crafts are often centered around the sunshines and almost always include sustainable or recycled elements. The sunshine products they create are sold on our website and at local events. Our number of participants as well as volunteers is growing weekly as we spread the sun (and awareness!) throughout our community!
Our hope for this blog is that it will serve many functions. First and foremost, keeping you up to date on all of our creative and sunny progress! We can't wait to document our work sessions and all of the fun events we participate in. We also hope that it will be a way to continue spreading awareness about our special needs population and their needs as they age. We want to introduce all of our adults (our "Rays" as we affectionately call them) to you so you can see firsthand what wonderful individuals they truly are. Our last hope is that if you are hoping to make a difference and are searching for inspiration that you may find that here. Dayna and I are educators, not business women and every day with this non-profit is a learning experience. Navigating this new world has been challenging at times but always extremely rewarding. Follow your dreams and find your sunshine, we believe in you!