CROMWELL, CT (January 11, 2017) – Ädelbrook Behavioral & Developmental Services (formerly Children’s Home of Cromwell) recently opened a business making and selling dog treats that employs 13 young adults with autism spectral disorders or other developmental disabilities.
The employees at The Bark-ery, located in nearby Middletown, participate in one of Ädelbrook’s Transitional Academies, which are community-based vocational programs for students ages 18–21. Participants have completed their academic requirements for high school, but may remain in school until age 21. The business gives students an opportunity to develop skills. Job coaches are assigned to each employee.
The employees participate in all phases of the operation including mixing, baking, marketing, and selling the biscuits, which are available in four different flavors—basic, apple-cinnamon crisp, awesome applesauce, and peanut butter puppers.
In advance of the store’s opening in November, employees sent each of the products to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture for approval and to another company to have the ingredients broken down to determine their exact nutritional value.
The store also has partnered with local artisans to sell dog-related products. Carol-Ann Burns, Ädelbrook’s transitional coordinator, told a local news station that business has been good and the community is embracing the project. A video of the station’s feature on the business is posted online.
Once a week The Bark-ery donates all of its unsold product to a local humane society.
Ädelbrook is a blended word that honors the agency’s Swedish heritage. “Ädel” means precious and “brook” represents the ever-changing path of life.