CraveABLEs in Lynchburg bridges the gap of employment for people with intellectual disabilities

The ice cream truck opens next week

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Hannah Belsterling is starting a new job next week — something she’s worked her whole life for.

“I think my first day is going to be very fun and challenging,” Hannah said.

Hannah has a rare disability, caused by a chromosome abnormality — making it more difficult for her to find a job.

“I was very excited to work here,” she said.

That’s where CraveABLEs steps in.

Taylor Perkins is a long-time special education teacher, who’s now setting her sights on helping people with intellectual disabilities get into the workforce.

“I saw the barriers that my students and their families would face after leaving high school finding meaningful opportunities and experiences for them,” Perkins said.

Perkins tells me because of their disabilities, jobs would often count her students out altogether.

“Reality is a lot of those with intellectual disabilities do have certain needs and they do need some extra support that some businesses just aren’t equipped or able to provide,” Perkins said.

Then came the idea for CraveABLES, an ice cream truck and shop where people of all abilities can get the support they need while holding a job. The truck opens next week, while the storefront is still in the renovation process.

“A transition in any part of life is really difficult. We at CraveABLEs want to make it as easy as possible,” Perkins said.

Hannah tells us she’s ready to work with people of all different abilities, like herself.

“I think it’s gonna be exciting to see everybody work together with different abilities,” Hannah said.

Perkins said people with disabilities are some of the hardest workers she knows.

“I have no doubt that they’re going to be some of the most amazing employees and following directions. With the help of breaking down tasks and steps, they’re gonna thrive,” she said.

They’re hoping to open the storefront in June, but still need some financial help to get there. Information on how to donate can be found here.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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