Better Futures For Everyone
A Commitment by The Owl House
Our core values as a community service initiative is to include and integrate individuals with special needs within the community. Our daily mission is to strive towards acceptance and understanding of special needs as opposed to having a “fix-it-” perspective. For us neurological differences are not something that need to be ‘cured’ or ‘eliminated’. Rather our attention and support should be on working together as a community and building on capabilities that people with special needs have.
And so, inline with our philosophy, we have introduced the Better Futures for Everyone initiative. We focus on empowering people with meaningful and productive work experiences. We engage the individuals that come to The Owl House in work-like settings hosted in our premises for a learning experience in a safe environment. Keeping in mind the work related skills that are transferable, we build on enhancing the same skill set with the individuals with special needs. The skills we choose to teach are universal, enjoyable and futuristic in order to make create careers that are individualized and engaging.
Take a moment to think about your local grocery store. At The Owl House we have a Shop
Management program where individuals learn the ins and outs of running a shop. To name
a few, greeting customers, stocking, replenishing goods, identifying items in the shop,
making a bill, managing cash, receiving and stocking inventory are the skills we work on.
We take pride in having partnered with Ecoposro, possibly India’s zero waste store. It was
started by two Goan friends who believed in a better way of approaching the plastic waste
crisis in Goa. The fact that they chose to partner with us is an indication of business
decisions intelligent brands will make in the near future. And it makes us extremely happy to
know that there are opportunities in store for young adults with special needs. We are
always looking to grow our network of brands that are willing to build a more inclusive work
environment by employing people on the Autism Spectrum to their team.
Next, picture a quaint cafe with delicious food set in a beautiful garden that’s just secluded
enough to meet a few friends or even work remotely. Food is naturally the most rewarding
experience for everybody, and all the roles and responsibilities that come along with
running a cafe are great and universal skills everyone can learn and transfer fairly quickly.
At The Owl House we have a hospitality program where individuals learn and gain skills
involved in successfully running a cafe. From setting up tables and chairs to making baked
goods in the kitchen, we work together in small groups and focus on the strengths of each
individual and constantly learn new skills required in a cafe setting.
A short video on the Better Futures For Everyone Initiative
From the present to the near future
At The Owl House, we come together to focus on things that we can do to engage with the community more on a bigger scale. Slow and steady, we are hoping to reach out to like minded individuals, organizations and companies who are on the same path of futuristic ideas of community building and inclusion.
Things we are currently working on at The Owl House
Art by Shane - Shane is an artist with autism who uses primarily pastels and crayons to create vibrants pieces of art. He is intrinsically motivated and is happiest when he is given a large canvas and some colours and minimal direction. Shane recently worked with a mentor at The Owl House to create a piece of art that was digitized and used to make some wonderful umbrellas, clocks and t-shirts. The Owl House acts as an incubator to young artists like Shane to aid them in setting up a career that is enjoyable and facilitates self sufficiency.
Cafe and baked goods - Nothing in the world is as exciting and reinforcing as wholesome home-made food! At The Owl House we make sure to integrate cooking and baking into our daily learning as a part of our culinary skills training program. The training mainly involves learning to some broad cooking techniques like chopping, beating, grinding as basic skills that can be used to make any dish! We also adopt user friendly equipment to meet the individual needs of our students.
Upcycling Handicrafts - We work with our neighborhood members and supporters to collect used plastic/glass bottles, cans, tins, old clothing items. All these items are upcycled at The Owl House by the individuals and educators with the idea of reducing wastage around us.
4. Gardening - If you have visited The Owl House, you would know our love for plants and how everyone here is actively engaged in gardening. The individuals at The Owl House have vested interest in our edible garden since they put in a lot of effort and care in growing all the herbs and plants. Some skills that we learn in our everyday gardening session involves learning to recognize different plants and/or flowers, planting them based on sunlight and water needs, dig holes to plant seeds, learning about the benefits of different herbs, fruits and plants and learning the health benefits of different plants/herbs. We also utilize all the fresh herbs from our garden in our cooking sessions.
Our love for gardening and growing plants and vegetables can definitely be more inclusive. We are looking into sharing our gardening experiences and also learning more from the members of our community. If you or someone you know would like to plant or garden together on an empty piece of land in our neighborhood, reach out and we can help you take it ahead.
Ways for you to be more involved
Mentor Programmes - We always love expanding our Owl House team and have mentors facilitate a group or individual sessions (once or twice a week). If there is an exceptional skill, talent or magic trick up your sleeve, feel free to reach out and we can look into having you come in for an observation session to gauge each other’s level of comfort.
Volunteer Support - All the events and groups sessions that we have The Owl House on a regular basis are always good opportunities for members of our community to engage more and spend time with the individuals with special needs. With work and life, we all get busy so we understand if you are willing to commit for only a few hours. It can range from 2-3 hours a day or 2-3 days a week depending on your schedule (we are very accommodating)
Employment Opportunities - Companies and organizations that would like to know more and/or hire our very talented individuals with special needs are always welcome to connect with us. We would also appreciate your help in finding local businesses that are willing to hire people with special needs. And, needless to say, we are here to make the transition easier for the individuals and the organization/company. SIGN UP FOR MENTOR PROGRAMME
Donations - Another way to contribute to The Owl House is through monetary support. If you would like to make a donation to be put towards the projects for people with Autism at The Owl House, here is a quick and easy link to follow: DONATE NOW
As a community service initiative, we appeal to the community to come forward and support the #BetterFuturesForEveryone initiative. Afterall, the only way to build a more responsible community, is to give equal opportunities to everybody.