Last fall, we had the opportunity to attend the Indiana ARC's annual conference in Muncie and witness all the great work the ARC engages in to benefit people with disabilities. They're an organization strongly committed to advocacy, empowerment, and helping each person use their skills and flourish.
What excited us was a new initiative the ARC was undertaking: to partner with Marriott to build a training hotel in Muncie where people with disabilities would be taught the skills necessary to work successfully at a hotel. Ground was broken for the ARC hotel while we were there, and commemorative jars of dirt distributed to all conference attendees.
Our jar of dirt has been in our kitchen since the conference. The other day, my daughter finally asked what it is and why it's in our kitchen. "Because it's about a project that brings a lot of hope. I want to be reminded of hope, so I keep it in a room where we spend a lot of time," I told her. The jar's label speaks volumes. "By working together we are turning ordinary dirt into extraordinary dreams," it says. How true!
More and more, we see the assets of autistic people thought of as a potential advantage on the job. It's heartening to see that a number of traditional workplaces and corporations are opening doors to those with autism, seeking their skills because they are needed at their business. Much, much more needs to be done, but that is an important change.
We've decided that our jar of dirt needs a new home. This summer, we'll break ground on our aquaponics expansion project, which will provide us the opportunity to have even greater impact in the community. When we break ground on our new construction, we plan to mingle the ARC's dirt with our own.
Dirt can be something ordinary. But with time, it can be so much more. Seeing the ARC's progress, those of us at Green Bridge Growers look forward to the transformation soon to happen when we build and expand. We are grateful for the inspiration of the ARC. It's their outstanding example that gives us lots of momentum and much hope as we move forward this year.