Camp Shriver

In the summer of 1962 . . . in the backyard of her suburban home in Washington DC . . .   Eunice Kennedy Shriver opened a summer camp for young people with intellectual disabilities.

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The goal of the camp was to explore the children’s skills in a variety of sports and physical activities.

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One of the most important aspects of Camp Shriver was Eunice’s insistence there be an interaction between children with special needs and typical children.

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What began as one woman’s vision evolved into Special Olympics International —                     a global movement that today serves more than 4 million people with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 countries.

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And we are forever grateful.

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In honor of Father’s Day

In honor of Father’s Day, I asked Beau 10 reasons why he loves his daddy so much.  Here’s what he had to say . . .

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  1. I love going to the movie theatre and sitting next to you.
  2. I love going to the beach when you hold me in the deep water.
  3. I love washing the car and spraying you with the hose.
  4. I love playing tackle.  It makes me laugh.
  5. I love when you make guacamole and chips.  You look handsome in your chef coat.
  6. I love playing basketball and riding the tractor with you.
  7. I love singing with you.
  8. I love going to your office and sitting in your chair.
  9. I love karate with you.  You’re funny when you bow.
  10. I love when you put me to bed and snuggle with me.  You say “Goodnight Beau”

A day at Dye Creek

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Almost eight weeks ago, we took a leap of faith . . . a leap that has taken our lives from the comfort of status quo to a state of limitless possibilities.  We chose to change the course of our lives by choosing a path less travelled while keeping a laser sharp focus on one goal.  We wanted to create a business that would provide employment opportunities to people living with intellectual and developmental disabilties and in doing so hopefully change other’s perspectives and attitudes toward a population of people that deserve to feel respected and valued.

What has unfolded since the day Dye Creek Capital opened for business has exceeded our expectations.

I couldn’t think of a better way to give you a glimpse into a day at Dye Creek than through the eyes of our 14 year-old daughter, Lillie.  With a servant’s heart, she has always looked out for those who struggle to overcome obstacles.  She believes in everyone’s potential to succeed and finds immense joy in watching the moments unfold as our employees strive to be the best that they can be.  And the moments are constantly playing out. 

Which is why Lillie jumped at the chance to be a “job coach” to one of our newest employees, Luke.  Luke is a survivor.  At age six, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Luke, like the other 2.5 million people in our country living with an intellectual or developmental disability, has struggled to find employment.  Now, at age twenty-nine he is an employee at Dye Creek Capital.

Neatly dressed in his uniform with his lunch tucked under his arm, Luke arrived for work Tuesday.  Lillie happily greeted him and the two exchanged a quiet conversation about their weekends.  And then it was straight to work.  As a “job coach”, Lillie is there to support Luke if needed and also help him strive toward complete independence at work.  Luke is a very hard worker with strong attention to detail.  Throughout his work day, he references a list that outlines his tasks.  But more importantly, Luke is in charge of extending hospitality to clients as they visit Dye Creek Capital.  And this is where the moments that really matter play out.    The moments when fear of the unknown is swept away and bridges are built between people with and without disabilities.  We believe that it’s in these moments that attitudes and perspectives change.

On this particular Tuesday, Dye Creek was visited by a woman that had also experienced the struggle of dealing with a cancer diagnosis.  And like Luke, she is a survivor.  Neither of them was aware of the other’s struggles, but within minutes of meeting and sharing conversation a mutual appreciation for each other had been formed.  As she parted from Dye Creek that day, Luke presented her with a loaf of bread he had learned to bake that morning.   The next day, she delivered Luke a note thanking him for his thoughtfulness.  

This is the kind of moment that is happening over and over again at Dye Creek.  When people spend time together, walls come down, attitudes change and mutual respect is established. 

I think Lillie summed up the day better than I could ever attempt to when she said “I want to do this for the rest of my life.”