Special Growers is a program of Special Opps, Inc, a 501c3 Tennessee Corporation with the mission of providing job training and employment opportunities to disabled young adults in Blount County.
A group of parents to several recently-graduated high school special needs students initially formed Special Growers as the solution for a less than encouraging post-graduation question and observation: first, “what’s next for my child?” and second, “there really isn’t much.”
Rather than allowing their disabled young adults to fall through the cracks of a work world not designed to offer a patient and understanding environment—the kind of environment that such youth of varying abilities
need to develop and reach their potential—these parents decided to take action and form the missing piece to the puzzle. From the combined hopes and initiative of these parents, a realistic and operable plan was formed, and Special Growers was born.
Special Growers is committed to serve our local restaurants with the highest quality herbs produced, gathered, and tended with care. Special Growers will meet chef requests for same day delivery within 2 hours of harvest, ensuring the freshest herbs accentuate their specialty entrees.
Today, Special Growers employs a dedicated staff of 14 year around disabled young adults, under the guidance of a Garden Manager and 10 adult volunteers. Special Growers also works closely with the four local area high schools: Alcoa, Heritage, Maryville and William Blount to provide a School Work Study Program for special education students during the school year, currently 55 students are involved in the program. The School Work Study Program provides opportunities to learn job skills and gain experience of how to work in the gardens. During the summer months of June and July, Special Growers provides summer jobs to any disabled young adult in the area. This summer 30 staff members were hired for summer employment.
To learn more about us, check out these short videos:
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