Faces were all aglow at the Old Jones Farm venue in Whitwell, on September 29, as the fine folks of Exceptional Enterprises of Coalmont enjoyed their second annual Fall Ball. The barn was filled with evening gowns, ties, and smiles that would light up the darkest of rooms.
Exceptional Enterprises is an organization that supplies a positive environment for people with a variety of challenges from autism to physical impairments. Do not think for one moment that their challenges hold them back from working and enjoying the same things we all do. They are a vital part of their community as they do volunteer work and seek employment.
The organization supplies those in their care with job skills training including practicing for job interviews and filling out applications. When they apply for jobs, they go through the same thing anyone else does, from the application and interview process to drug screenings and background checks.
Exceptional Enterprises used to provide laundry and rug cleaning services for local businesses until the business aspect of Exceptional Enterprises was sold. Since then, the workers have experienced many changes in how they are introduced into the community around them. Even with all the changes, Director Missy Lowrie looked at the positive side of now being able to “share them with the community.”
Following the organizational change, workers have experienced many new avenues and opportunities. According to Diane Henry, Day Program Coordinator, the group has gone on a riverboat ride, visited state parks and museums, taken art classes, volunteered at a local thrift store, and so much more. She stated, “Our goal is to find new ways for them to offer services to the community as we work to continue to make them happy.”
The idea for the Fall Ball started in 2017, when residential tech Brook (Cleek) Alder was looking for a wedding venue and she visited the Old Jones Farm. After telling owner Wanda Cooper about where she worked, she was introduced to Cooper’s daughter, Cheryl Greenwald. The two soon realized they shared the same passion.
For some time, Cheryl had wanted to hold a celebration for those with special needs and personalities and this opened the door. Plans quickly evolved into a prom-like dinner and dance for the workers of Exceptional Enterprises and thus the Fall Ball became a reality.
When asked about the ball, Cheryl replied, “It was a dream come true to be able to give them this opportunity. They’re such a blessing.”
Let this be a reminder for each of us to be nicer to one another, to appreciate our differences and treat our neighbors as we want to be treated – with kindness and compassion.
If you have a job opening at your business that you believe someone from Exceptional Enterprises can fill, please contact them at 931-692-2235. Your business will benefit and so will your heart.