In 2018 Bellcate School decided to emBARK on a business solution to support the complex needs of students with disabilities. Our vision was to create a practical solution to a real problem that our students and families had experienced for a long time. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities in the US is twice that of people without disabilities. Once our students graduated and were prepared for their next big step in life, they were met with limited opportunities. This lack of opportunity translated into challenges with finding a sense of purpose and belonging and oftentimes led to regression in progress and quality of life.
At Bellcate School Dog Treats (BSDT) we created a vocational training program where students can learn and practice skills during school that can lead directly to adult employment within our company. And while jobs are important, we also recognize at BSDT an even greater need for a sense of belonging and community. Our vision related to community is to shape an inclusive world that learns, plays, works and grows together with an engaged and spirited heart. We are a community at BSDT- Our people, our animals and our environment.
At BSDT we teach and practice taking care of the land regardless of ownership with an eye to ecological, economic, social and cultural considerations. We are also committed to partnering with individuals and businesses who share a common goal: making sustainable decisions that protect and preserve our precious natural environment and resources.
It has been an incredible journey. and through the collective efforts, creativity and resilience of everyone involved, our vision has become a reality. BSDT trainees and employees are engaged in every aspect of the business- mixing, baking, packaging, labeling, shipping, delivery, as well as sales and marketing to name a few. We have set up ecommerce on our website and we are also selling in stores all over the country. We are grateful for the reception and collaboration we have experienced from everyone we have met. We look forward to bringing our nutritious and delicious dog treats into every home we can while providing dynamic employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities.