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.”