TOMMY'S TAKE

Cameron's Chocolates offers employment to adults with intellectual disabilities

Decrease Increase Text size

(WJLA) - Cameron Graham spends her days making delicious chocolates at Cameron’s Chocolates in Fairfax County, and in her own sweet way proves young adults with intellectual disabilities can thrive and contribute to our community.

“Your hope is that your child can gain independence,” says Jim Graham, her father and founder of Cameron's Chocolates.

Cameron’s parents opened the shop to provide a space for young adults like their daughter to work and learn when they grow out of school special education programs.

“They’re great workers,” says Graham. “They are sometimes overlooked as to what their real capabilities are… whenever we start talking about adding a piece of equipment my wife will kick me under the table and remind me this is not a business process where we are trying to make it as sleek and economical as possible."

Parallel workers like Wendy Bennett are on the job right alongside to keep things running smoothly.

“They are equal workers and my job is to make sure that their quality of product is the same as everyone else’s,” Bennett says. “(Cameron) has taught me to love what I do. How many people go to work and say ‘I’m really excited for the day?’”

“It’s our hope that we can create an environment where everybody reaches his or her potential,” Graham says.

“They have so much to offer the community and it’s the community’s job to give them those opportunities,” Bennett says.

Recommended For You