“Our son Nick was born 36 years ago, and when he was born, he appeared fine. When he was one month old he wasn’t rolling over, and that’s the first milestone he missed. For the next few months we saw a lot of doctors and had a lot of tests run, and eventually we did some genetic testing. Nick’s diagnosis is called partial agenesis of the corpus callosum; we got his diagnosis when he was 8 months old, and by the time he was 10 months old, he had started therapy. Today Nick is as advanced as he will get. He doesn’t need a wheelchair or braces, but his main deficits are fine motor, gross motor, speech delays, and he has no ability to do math. But he can read and write at his age level, he can spell. He can’t drive, but he knows how to take the bus. And when he was 21, Nick graduated high school.
Nick has had other jobs before he came to Sunshine Industries, but it’s very hard in the workplace because he has no peer group there. And in the workplace, if there’s not another person with a disability or someone who knows how to work with a disability, other people don’t really understand. They end up eating lunch by themselves and being isolated and alone. But here, Nick is with his peers. He fits in and he loves it. The biggest value in Sunshine is that it’s not about the money, it’s about purpose. Nick gets up every day and has a purpose, a place to go. Just like our other child has a job he’s responsible in, this is Nick’s job and he has responsibilities – which is so relieving for us. He knows he’s needed, and at the end of the day he also has a social life with his friends here. They have a job here, but there’s also the camaraderie, they’re like brothers and sisters. And you’re not going to find that any other place, not with special needs people. Here they’re not even considered special needs – they just accept each other.”