Pockets Full of Sunshine’s mission is to make the Low Country a 'sunnier' place by providing inclusive social and vocational opportunities for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. If you have ever had the pleasure of knowing or loving an exceptional individual, then you know first hand the kindness, gentleness and love they exude. Their bright demeanor and joyful personalities are literally "rays of sunshine" to those who cross their paths.
Unfortunately, there is often a lack of understanding and discreet discomfort between the general population and individuals with special needs. We believe this is due to minimal exposure and a lack of inclusion in the community for exceptional adults. Most individuals with disabilities are truly exceptional people with unique gifts and talents, who each have something to offer their community, be it performing a vocational service, or just offering a friendly smile. Through providing employment opportunities for exceptional individuals, Pockets Full of Sunshine will not only increase their exposure to and interaction with the general population, but will also provide them with increased independence, growth and a sense of personal pride.
A Sunny Beginning
It all started with a little sunshine....
Pockets Full of Sunshine began in 2015, the joint idea of Dayna Dehlinger and Laurin Rivers, two young special education teachers and Carol and RJ Bartholomew, the parents of a young adult with special needs who was nearing graduation from high school. They recognized a great need for increased services for special adults, who age out of school and consequently nearly all services at the age of 21. The Pockets philosophy is “quality over quantity”. It is not enough that exceptional adults simply have a place to go during the day, often set apart from their peers and the rest of society. We strive to provide them with social and employment opportunities that are both meaningful and inclusive, connecting them with their communities.
Over 80% of adults with disabilities are unemployed nationally. This statistic is echoed in our local area and job training and opportunities here are extremely limited. We believe that everyone, of any ability is not only capable but deserves to be an active participant in and make unique contributions to their local communities. Everyone deserves a chance to shine.
Here Comes the Sun....
The inspiration for Pockets originated from a small piece of non-recyclable plastic manufactured by a labeling company in Detroit, MI. The punch out, the discarded center of a label that goes over a break fluid cap, looked just like a small yellow sunshine and reminded Laurin, Carol and Dayna of the bright and sunny disposition of individuals with special needs.
The trio now had their vision for the first job local adults with special needs could do and arranged for the "sunshines" to be rescued from the Michigan landfill and sent to Hilton Head Island where they would be recycled and re-purposed. The first two adults that Pockets would serve, or “Rays” as they lovingly came to be known, used the sunshines to create greeting cards, gift tags, magnets and stationary.
Shining Bright and Growing All The Time
The sun has continued to shine and PFS now serves over 35 Rays, with that number increasing monthly. The Rays continue to produce sunshine products along with a litany of other hand made goods that they create during their weekly craft and social sessions. Craft products are sold by the Rays under our bright blue and yellow PFS tent at local events and festivals; providing further vocational opportunities and important chances to meaningfully interact with their local community. Additionally Pockets offers the adults a weekly day of job training inside a local business and a Friday Night Social Club. Our plans for the future are big and bright, help us continue to grow and keep shining on special adults; donate today!