People With Developmental Disabilities Given a Chance at Employment Through Unique Program
[Sound: Plastic eggs popping open]
Six employees seated at a table at Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs are popping open yellow, plastic Easter eggs before setting them down on a tray.
The company is owned and operated by the Springfield Workshop, which is a private, not-for-profit organization in Greene County. Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs is run entirely by employees with developmental disabilities.
“On our website it says: ‘Special eggs made by special people’ and that’s true.”
Steve Claypool is in charge of Customer Care at the Springfield Workshop. He says that Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs gives opportunities to 40 workers with developmental disabilities, like low motor-skills, who would have trouble finding work elsewhere.
“The opportunity for competitive employment for these employees would probably not be possible. That doesn’t mean they’ll never be able to, but we have found that this works best. They work alongside their peers. They’re never intimidated. There’s no bullying. They all get along. So this is a good place for them.”
The employees share a laugh as they stuff plastic Easter eggs with candy and toys. They work six hours a day, five days a week, and are surrounded by their friends. Their eggs have been sent to all 50 states and the District of Columbia during Sunny Bunny’s four years of operation.
Kevin Wilson is an employee with the company and says he enjoys his work.
“I like it, it’s fun.”
But when I ask him about his favorite part of working for the business, he said it’s the people.
“[I’ve] got good friends here…a nice advisor.”
The Springfield Workshop says the employees have been working hard since last Easter to fill nearly 10,000,000 Easter eggs. Kimbra Short, an employee at Sunny Bunny, explains how she and her friends fill almost 30,000 eggs a day:
“Put toys or candy in it…the snap [them].”
Like Wilson, Short also told me her favorite part about Sunny Bunny was talking to friends.
While the advisors of the Sunny Bunny Easter Egg factory teach the employees how to stuff eggs, Margaret Champlain, who is the Coach Trainer for the Sunny Bunny department, says the workers teach her, as well.
“They teach us compassion, and patience, and tolerance. They teach us probably as much if not more than we teach them.”
For more information on the Springfield Workshop, you can call 866-2339.
For KSMU News, I’m Brittany Donnellan.