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All for 2 and 2 for All

It is hard to believe that the Two Foundation is six years old and the Two Café and Boutique is over four and a half years old.

It is even harder to believe on a personal note, that my children are 30, 28 and 26 years old.  Time has flown by and I cherish each age, stage and moment that I have with them.  They have gone from babies to children to teenagers and now adults.  My eldest has even transitioned into parenthood and what a joy that has been!

Life is full of transitions and if there is one word that describes the “What we do?” at the Two, it is TRANSITION.  The word that describes the “Why we do it?” is HOPE. 

In this post, I am going to focus on the Transition.

Our goal at the Two is to transition individuals into the work-place, after high school, or out of a segregated work setting.  We know that this is where many of those we serve struggle the most.  “What happens after high school,” is a question that we hear a lot.  As a team, we strive to assess the strengths and interests of those that go through our job readiness program and then make a match with one of our amazing business partners.  We are so proud of our graduates and their successes!

Beyond that mission, we want our community, and society to understand that we are NOT “a special place for special people”.  We are all just people with strengths and weaknesses, working and doing life together.  We are a place of business that models every day what a truly integrated community looks like, and we should be nothing unique.  A place where all are embraced regardless of label or exceptionality.  We all have something, and it is time we understand that.

 As we embark on our children’s services, what an inspiration it is to watch as our teachers live out our motto, “Serving all Children, Embracing all Abilities”.  It touches my heart to be able to offer parents a place where their child belongs regardless of diagnosis or label.  Here, at the Two, they are not only welcomed but loved.  Those “typical children” that attended our “Integrated Young Entrepreneurs” summer camp, will hopefully be searching for those in school this year that need a friend or an extra hand.  These children will become the natural supports that will be needed in “tomorrows” workforce. 

These are the outcomes that we are really after….a movement that will spread across the country….an understanding that we all need each other to do life best…..that the things that make us different may be the very things needed to solve the challenges of today and tomorrow….that life is so much better when we do it TWOGETHER.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 and 10 (paraphrase): Two are better than one, when one falls down there is someone there to pick you up and the return for your labor is even greater.


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A Word From One of Our Grads!

We love hearing from our Grads about how they have grown in their career journey. Here is a snapshot from one of our grads, Katie:

“Working at a home improvement store has taught me to act appropriately even when difficult, and self-regulate my behavior. Working in retail has given me an opportunity to practice my social skills in a professional environment. For that, I’m very grateful and for many of my supervisors and co-workers.

I have appreciated all the current skills that my current job has taught me. I have grown personally and professionally, particularly thanks to my supervisor.”

We are so proud of what you have accomplished!


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Thoughts on the movie Wonder


Just wondering how many parents got through the movie Wonder with dry eyes.  I know it was impossible for me to do as my third child was born with an exceptionality (aren’t we all😊).

The movie brought to light so many different perspectives from the viewpoint of the child, his parents, siblings, peers, other parents, school staff, and society.

It was heart-wrenching to watch as the child struggled to be brave and face his fears of rejection and ridicule as he started school.  It was beautiful to see how his confidence grew as he gained the strength and was ready to lose the mask and be okay it.

I couldn’t help but relate to Julia Robert’s character as she struggled to integrate her son into society all the while knowing the pain that her son would experience.  I don’t believe there is much in life that compares to the heartache of a mom desperately wanting to protect their precious child from harm but realizing that it will come.  She must allow it to happen to a degree to get her child where he or she needs to be.  I am not a father, but I am sure the inward struggle is much the same.  The reward is great as the child comes through to the other side with new found confidence, compassion for others and strong character.

This movie brought to light for me what my two older children must have experienced throughout their childhood as I was very focused on making sure that all was okay for my youngest.  I am forever grateful for their understanding and unconditional love.  I know they are forever impacted by having such a special younger brother.  They are much of the reason my youngest is so amazing.

What a blessing the school principal and teacher were as they advocated with tender hearts and had compassion for their exceptional student.  I am so grateful for those educators that do all they can to help support, encourage and provide guidance as it is so desperately needed in our schools today.

Lastly, it showed the lack of understanding and compassion from the bully’s parents. Really, just a microcosm of what exists in society today.  There are those that lack compassion and an overall understanding of what really matters in life.  Goodness, kindness, love, compassion, and acceptance of all no matter what the differences may be.

At the Two, we celebrate strengths and diversities.  We believe that the things that make us “different” are the very things that make us extra special!


-Shari Hunter

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Two are better than one…

The idea of the Two Foundation came from the verse Ecclesiastes 4: 9 and 10. “Two are better than one because they have a good return on their work. If one falls down, the other can pick him up.”

It also comes from the concept of the “peer buddy system” used in some schools. Instead of an adult aide helping the student, another student is trained and brought alongside to guide and model. It is a win, win for all involved. Our goal is to recreate the “peer buddy system” in the workplace. Two will train a fellow employee who will then become the job coach and support for our Two clients to ensure full integration into the workplace. We desire to come alongside families to support, encourage and provide the latest information as they raise, love and guide their family member into the workplace. This is a continuation of a journey I started twenty years ago.

I am so excited to see where this leads us as we venture together into the workplace.

Shari Hunter ( Founder, CEO, MOM)

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Creating Opportunities for Students within the Workforce

A growing number of students on IEPs are leaving high school with job skills, but employment opportunities are limited. Schools are focusing education on academic and vocational skills that will benefit the individuals after high school, but the businesses are not always affording the opportunities of employment to this population. Partnerships with local businesses will give students the opportunity to gain high-level skills necessary to move on to the next level of employment. The majority of the students would not need supported employment for an extended time. When businesses open their doors to form a partnership with the schools, they are in actuality increasing their business. Local school employees and families would be more likely to support businesses that support students. Another advantage of schools and business forming partnerships would be that the businesses could inform the school of the specific job skills that are necessary for students to be successful in various fields of employment. The schools, in turn, could incorporate them into their vocational training, therefore, producing students ready to work and decrease on the job training. A partnership would be a win-win situation for all parties.

Written by: Shari Hunter