South Philly Review features RHD IDEATE in story on George working as a business entrepreneur
December 6, 2018
The South Philly Review featured RHD IDEATE in a story on George, who is starting his own business with support from IDEATE. George is in a wheelchair, but recently gained access to a robotic arm that helps him gain independence and launch his businsess, G Fresh Emporium. IDEATE is an inclusive employment program dedicated to providing trauma-informed support to individuals with barriers to getting and sustaining earning opportunities. IDEATE’s mission is provide person-tailored pathways to careers in both competitive and self-employment, utilizing technology and community engagement.
“Shands’ recent work with the Frankford-based IDEATE, a (program) of the national Resources for Human Development corporation, has led to the fruition of his first business, which offers an assortment of air fresheners and incense through online sales and pop-up vending at local fairs, festivals and other community events.
G Fresh Emporium, which kicked off this past June, significantly increased the South Philly resident’s income. Previously, Shands was in a sheltered workshop where he earned less than the federal minimum wage, which is legal under the Fair Labor Standard Act. After opting out of this system and into IDEATE’S community-based competitive employment, he now earns roughly equal to or more than minimum wage.
“Making much more money, it felt good,” he said. “Paying myself is good … I am my own boss. It feels great. It just feels great. It’s something I like to do. This was like a dream come true to me.”
Shands’ whopping raise is a testimony of the technology-driven IDEATE, an employment first program founded in 2014 that’s “committed to the respect for human rights and the dignity of every individual,” by assisting, advancing and advocating job opportunities for those living with various disabilities.
“The whole point of it is — we want individuals who identify as disabled to have equal access to rights, responsibilities and remuneration as non-disabled people,” said program director Kaelynne Koval. “And, (Shands is) doing it.”