Each week, WJCT's Rebecca Farmer highlights one of the creators participating in Jacksonville's One Spark Festival.
Rachel Rippey creator of The Dandelion House and has always been interested in mentally disabled individuals.
When she was in high school, Rippey says she "would always go to their lunch table and check on them to make sure they had everything the needed”.
Once Rippey was in college, the choice was obvious. After studying special education she earned 2 degrees and is now a full time Special Education Teacher in Jacksonville.
The idea began when Rippey was on a trip to the Northeast. They visited a place that had the same vision as the Dandelion House and decided that she wanted to open up something similar in the Jacksonville area.
This house will be a place where individuals with disabilities can come and learn how run a restaurant. She wants to give them all the tools they need to run the business - from how to prepare the food, to how to count the drawers at the end of the night. There are no other non-profits in the community that help benefit the mentally challenged in this way.
The experience at the house will help them get a job in the community. Rippey says she wants to help make them makers and not takers.
"The whole hot topic this last election was that we have makers and takers and we really believe that people with disabilities don’t have to be a huge population taking all of the government assistance, you have people that are absolutely willing to work full time jobs and we want to help them do that.”
Rippey hopes that One Spark will help her raise money to buy a house in Riverside where she can open up the café. The project will eventually evolve to include local schools using local ingredients.
Look for more information on the Dandelion House during One Spark at their booth at Ignite Adecco.
You can vote on your favorite creator or you can become a crowd-funder and donate to your favorite creation. Visit beonespark.com to find out more.