Late Night Health’s host, Mark Alyn, interviews Gina Ireland, the Ireland Family Foundation’s Liaison to Extraordinary Ventures and Extraordinary People’s Distribution Partner through Cardinal Blue Consulting.
Many of Extraordinary Ventures employees were told they were incapable of holding down a meaningful job. However, based on the belief that all people are employable, this 501 (c) 3 non-profit, organization, based in Chapel Hill, NC, has created an exceptionally successful employment model that could easily be replicated in any city.
Extraordinary People is a documentary film about autism, community, and meaningful work. It tells the story of six adults across the autism spectrum, who, despite individual challenges, have found meaningful value and a deep sense of pride from their work at a business called Extraordinary Ventures. The film redefines expectations for employers and society alike and shows the essential role a job plays for not just these six individuals, but for all adults. As a side note, according to A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, the unemployment rate for adults with autism is a staggering 86%.
The six people, showcased in Extraordinary People, are:
VINNIE has worked at EV Laundry for more than six years, doing pick-up and deliveries with the aid of his job coach. He also has his own yard maintenance business he calls “Weed Whacking Weasel.” He likes schedules and knowing what is expected of him. He enjoys outdoor activities and especially loves the beach and tubing.
MICHAEL is a hard worker who focuses on the tasks in front of him. He works in both Office Solutions and as a dog walker for EV Pets. He also helps out in bookkeeping and data entry. Michael plays the violin, volunteers in the community reading to preschool children, and holds a second job at a local bakery.
AMANDA began at EV Laundry six years ago and has moved up steadily in the organization. She was promoted to business supervisor where she trains and organizes other employees. Her skills include patience and compassion for others, and a will to always do her very best. She loves her cats and listening to Michael Jackson!
DEREK has been with EV for more than seven years. He works detailing buses alongside the rest of his crew and is a big favorite with the town’s bus maintenance team due to his positive personality. Derek also works in EV Laundry, among other operations. A very social guy, he loves swimming and being with his friends at EV’s Friday night social.
EWAN, a super friendly, happy and talented young man, is responsible for the success of EV Gifts, especially the company’s art and jewelry line. His passion for cooking led to the creation of a premium scented candle business. Ewan can be found in all parts of the company, including
NATALIE is a core employee in the Office Solutions business. One of EV’s first employees, she was instrumental in the organization’s growth from the beginning. She loves to follow schedules. Natalie bakes cookies for local charities and dog treats for the animal shelter.
Extraordinary People Part 2