Opportunities Inc., a non-profit organization, has been serving our community since 1966 through their work with children and adults with special needs ranging from intellectual to developmental disabilities. Their support spans from educational goals to independent living. Recently, Opportunities Inc. received a $280,000 grant aimed to support their Social Enterprise Model, a model that includes three different business enterprises designed to employ their adult clients. “Once they graduate high school, we are here to support our clients by offering them job training, and for a few, independent living,” says Executive Director Sherry Young. Soon, they can begin to employ their own clients.
Three enterprises have been designed through their model, including a business enterprise where their adult clients receive professional training to do shredding for local Texarkana businesses, a creative arts enterprise and a horticultural enterprise. The business enterprise will provide job training for their clients, while simultaneously providing trained and certified staff to our community with certified training through the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), which would ensure that all valuable and personal information is treated safely, says Sherry Young.
The Creative Arts enterprise, thoughtfully named OppARTtunities, provides a space for their adult clients to create specifically designed art pieces for our community members to purchase and enjoy. Their clients have been working alongside Eileen Stearman, a local artist, who has helped take the designs made by the clients and compile them in a creatively fun and artistically beautiful way for others to enjoy. Their pieces have been assembled to form desk calendars, Christmas cards and posters for community events. Community members can order any of these items throughout the year through the OppARTtunities webpage.
Later this year, the new Horticultural building will be in operation for the Opportunities Inc. clients to begin using. The building will provide a large greenhouse and space outside to plant different fruits, vegetables and flowers. With the creation of the building, it is the hope of Opportunities Inc., to teach their clients the entire trade of growing and nourishing their own plants through harvest says Sherry Young. Once harvests are ready, the local community will be able to come visit the Horticultural center and purchase the produce grown from their clients.