Brownies & Downies may seem like just a restaurant, but we’re so much more than that!
At Brownies & Downies we run training, skills development and work conditioning programmes for people with intellectual disabilities. We’ve chosen to focus on this group of individuals because they need the most help during the integration process at a job level. Often this need arises not because of their capabilities, but rather the inability of their coworkers to correctly interact and work with them in a work environment. The reason for this is often stigmas surrounding disabilities. From these stigmas arises discomfort, unease and tension. However, just as every person is unique and differently-able, so people with intellectual disabilities like autism, down syndrome and learning disabilities are unique and differently-abled.
In our programmes, we often teach our trainees transferable skills they will need when working with us, and outside of our restaurant.
These are skills that trainees need to learn that are required in their jobs. These skills can be taught by our team of professionals, such as:
- Specialized coffee brewing
- Service excellence
People are usually not taught these skills, but learn them through job experience and through day-to-day social interactions. However people with intellectual disabilities usually need longer to learn these skills, or have never been exposed to this due to stigmas in their professional- and social-lives. What we teach them can include:
- Personal boundaries and space
- Reading body-language
- The importance of posture
- Work ethic
Most people with intellectual disabilities are not always given opportunities to grow and develop socially because of the stigmas surrounding disability. We provide an environment where teamwork can be fostered, and a safe space to impart the importance of learning from mistakes, asking questions, and fostering creativity and individuality.
Our social workers make sure that each trainee develops at their own unique pace, and in their preferred direction of learning. Trainees in our programme are taught through repetition, visual stimuli and other methods specific to their needs.
Since opening, we’ve graduated and integrated over a dozen people with intellectual disabilities into jobs. We’ve hired 4 graduates to compliment our own staff, and helped a dozen more to find jobs by themselves. Our training programme changes lives, communities and shapes futures!
Come and visit us today to be part of the change – Directions on Google Maps!
Written and published by Wade Schultz