Latest Social Enterprise Initiative Creates Job Opportunities and Fosters Independence for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Since it first launched its social enterprise program more than 50 years ago, Woods Services in Langhorne has been committed to creating employment opportunities for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, emotional and behavioral concerns, cerebral palsy, and other physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities. Today, Woods launched its newest social enterprise with the grand opening of Woods Wear, a custom apparel company where Woods residents will design, print, and sell t-shirts, as well as hats, headbands, hoodies, sweatshirts and yoga pants.
Woods President and CEO Tine Hansen-Turton joined Woods Wear lead Maurice Johnson and other Woods Wear employees in cutting the ribbon on the new apparel studio. Located on the Woods campus, the shop is equipped with state-of-the-art design and printing equipment – a DTG Epson Sure Color f12000. There are currently seven part-time Woods individuals employed at the studio. Woods Wear has already produced “tees” for several departments at Woods and will now officially begin to take orders from customers in the community.
Woods chose the custom apparel industry because Woods was already ordering apparel from other vendors for its events and for staff, so there was a built-in customer base. Additionally, Woods Wear offers a different type of work opportunity from Woods’ other social enterprises, thereby broadening the work opportunities available to meet the varied interests and skills of Woods’ residents and students.
The Woods Wear grand opening event was also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Woods’ other social enterprise initiatives, including Common Grounds Café, an open-to-the-public, on-site coffee and convenience shop that employs residents who greet customers, take orders, operate the register, prepare food, and maintain inventory and the dining room. Along with Woods Wear, Common Grounds celebrated the grand opening of its coffee bar offering specialty coffees, such as lattes prepared by trained baristas. Common Grounds employs one full-time and 13 part-time Woods individuals.
Woods also operates two Yellow Daffodil Flower and Gift Shops, one located on the Woods campus and the other in the Pine Watson Shopping Center in Langhorne, where employees participate in floral creation and plant care, sales, inventory, display and design. The shops have been central to the community, providing fresh flowers, wedding bouquets and centerpieces, greeting cards, soaps, lotions, and homemade gifts. Another social enterprise initiative, BeachTree Bath and Body Products, operated by Woods’ Beechwood NeuroRehab program for adults with an acquired brain injury, has developed jobs where employees create products and sell them online and through stores, shows and markets.
“Woods was considered an innovator when launching its social enterprise initiative in 1966, 52 years ago. Today, we continue that commitment to eliminating barriers and creating possibilities for achievement,” said Hansen-Turton. “Through Woods Wear, and our other social enterprise initiatives such as Yellow Daffodil Flower and Gift Shops, Common Grounds Café, and BeachTree Bath and Body Products, we are providing individuals with opportunities to work in an integrated setting, gain skills, readying them for future employment opportunities in the community. All of this helps them increase their independence.”