The year was 1953. Life was different then, particularly for children born with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Parents were often advised to keep their child at home, out of sight. Some children were sent to institutions, growing up away from loved ones and the community.
That same year, a small organization called Opportunity Workshop was founded in the Twin Cities by parents who wanted a better life for their children. The workshop provided opportunities for teenagers with disabilities to work, to feel pride in earning a paycheck, and to be a part of the community.
Now called Opportunity Partners and celebrating 65 years of existence, the Minnetonka-based nonprofit has always focused on the abilities of people. By providing opportunities for people to boost their skills and contribute to society, many experience a new sense of belonging that all of us want and need.
Today, Opportunity Partners serves 2,000 adults with disabilities through employment and training programs, enrichment classes, and residential services - all aimed to advance the quality of life for people it serves. It partners with countless businesses that hire the organization to provide packaging, assembly, clerical, janitorial, food service, and other services.
In an effort to create even more job opportunities, Opportunity Partners is now marketing its own brand of fire starters for bonfires and campfires at the cabin or the lake. The product is made and packaged in Minnesota by people with disabilities, providing the community an easy way to support a social enterprise.
Available at The Lake + Co. Shop, the wax and wood fire starters are sold under the label OP Social Enterprises™ - a division of Opportunity Partners that is operated as a social enterprise for the benefit of a good cause. People with disabilities package the product at various locations around the Twin Cities.
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