One Special Night aims to bridge the jobs gap
An organisation set up to promote inclusion for disabled people has applied for charitable status.
One Special Night, designed to organise social events for people with special needs, was launched last December by Tia Kipps, a learning support teacher at CedarBridge Academy.
Ms Kipps, who teaches youngsters with mild to moderate disabilities, said she noticed a gap in services for pupils with special needs who left high school.
She added: “One Special Night aims to bridge the gap between members of our community and persons with disabilities in hopes of building an inclusive community.”
Ms Kipps said: “One Special Night was launched with a view to developing a social enterprise to generate awareness in our community with a vision to create access to equal opportunities and events for persons with disabilities.”
She added: “Our long-term goal is to facilitate transitional employment programmes.
“We have students who are leaving high school and are left to their own devices – we want to go over strategies with companies so that they can include this in their employability environment.”
One Special Night has organised five special events so far, including An Enchanted Night of Elegance at CedarBridge Academy in March.
It is now in discussions with businesses to provide employment opportunities for its members.
Ms Kipps said: “Budget Car Wash on North Shore Road reached out to us asking if any of our members were interested in working for them.
“I looked in to our pool of about 50 members and am now in the process of facilitating a member to join them.
“They are the trailblazers right now.
“Our goal is to have job training coaches who will train our members there in the businesses.”
But Ms Kipps said: “Our issue is funding, so we are reaching out to our community to raise funds to support this.
“We have been selling T-shirts with the slogan On a Mission as we are on a mission to spread awareness.
“They were designed by a US company called Spectrum Design which hires persons with autism.”
Ms Kipps organised a stall at the Huckleberry Restaurant market at the Rosedon Hotel in Pembroke on Wednesday night to mark the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Ms Kipps said the application for charitable status was being processed.
For more information on One Special Night or to buy a T-shirt, call Ms Kipps on 333-8734, visit the website www.onespecialnightbda.com or its Instagram page @One_SpecialNightBDA.