My background is in jewelry making, so since that is what I knew, that is what I based Project Kind on. Not the best when you have a boy but I promised him I would find other things for him to do like packing and putting things together, more “manly” things. Turns out, he and the other guys that work at Project Kind have no problem at all making bracelets! We now make bracelets, greeting cards, key chains, our best selling gift boxes, and are so excited to announce our new “Sweetest Souls” monthly subscription box starting this May!
All throughout my son’s school years, I just wanted to get him through it. I just wanted him to graduate. For him, school was stressful. It caused him so much anxiety that when the time came for graduation, we were both ready.
Then reality hit. What is someone who isn’t ready to function in this world supposed to do once they are thrown into it? He is very smart but has a hard time communicating with others. He is the kindest person you will ever meet but struggles with anxiety. He just isn’t mature enough yet to do the things kids his age are doing and if I were to try and find him a job, would they be nice to him, but would they have the patience for him? I was scared to let him out in to this world, and I knew he was absolutely not ready.
This is where the idea for Project Kind came from. I knew he needed to do something. He didn’t need to just sit around the house and play video games all day. He also needed to socialize with others. If left to himself, he is just fine hanging in his room, doing his own thing. I knew other moms had to feel the same way I did and I felt in my heart I wanted to do something for him — and as many other people like him — as I could.
I started Project Kind in the spring of 2020, right in the middle of Covid. The long quarantine days actually came in handy. It gave me the time to start a website, work on our logo, and accomplish other behind the scene things. I tried to learn as much about starting a business as I could. It was not easy but I did my best. I got my business license and downloaded Quickbooks. I sweated, I cried, and then I got Project Kind up and running.
Through word of mouth, I found three more young adults to work for us and they all started at different times during the summer. In the beginning, our home base was at my son’s previous school, The Phenix School, a school for kids with learning differences. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford the rent. Luckily, things fell into place so that we could build a room behind our house and work from there instead!
I have loved watching the growth in my crew through our first year. I have watched them as beginners, just learning and feeling anxious about every move. Now confident leaders, they can help the new crew members we have. It’s amazing to witness!
At Project Kind, we work only a few days a week for a few hours so it’s pretty obvious that the goal here isn’t about money. PK is much more than that. It gives our crew members a sense of purpose, pride, and a place to belong. It gets them out of their box and lets them socialize with friends. We have become a family now. A small family that will hopefully grow much larger with time. I have never worked with people with disabilities and they have taught me so much. It is impossible to be in a bad mood at Project Kind. It just does not happen. If you come work with us, you leave happy! At this point in my son’s life, this is exactly what he needs. And me too.