My daughter’s journey has been long. For years we searched to find the right school, the right program, the right medications. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; when she was really little it was like hell on earth. Over time, over years it got better. Eventually we did find the right schools, programs, incredible teachers, therapists, doctors, and village of people to carry her through.
Today she is on a journey I never could have imagined; her journey has become mine. Turning 22 and aging out of the public school system at the onset of COVID brought her journey to a dead end. After sitting in her bedroom for 2 years, with the help of some very amazing people, I figured a way to continue her journey and get not only her but others in her same situation back out into the community. We created our own coffee cart business. Chapters Coffee Carts is a nonprofit business located in the Medford Public Library with a mission to set up supported worksites for individuals with disabilities. My daughter and her coworkers are provided a paycheck, meaningful work experience and most importantly a place in the community.
My days, my journey, is now filled with not only accommodating my daughter’s needs but our other staff as well. Between accommodating each of their specific individual needs, ordering supplies, searching out grants, advertising, as well as juggling my family at home I’ve quickly come to realize that this new journey of mine is not going to be easy. Like every new journey some days leave me frazzled and exhausted. Like my daughter’s journey as she was just starting out, this is an unfamiliar road; a road that I need to learn to navigate with all of its twists and turns.
Raising a daughter with special needs has taught me many things; optimism, patience, and gratitude to name a few. At the start of my new journey, my journey as a nonprofit business owner, I’m fortunate to be able to take the things I’ve learned with me. Optimism f dictates me to forge ahead day after day. I know this road isn’t going to be an easy one but I’m sure it will lead to many great things along the way. Patience enables me to never give up, to hold on and wait to become well established. Gratitude leads me to wake up every day thankful for the support that so many people have given us every step of the way. My daughter’s next part of her journey, my new journey, is going to be a great ride that we’ll travel together.