In every waking moment, we are faced with a barrage of messages screaming, “you deserve more”. We can easily get caught up in a me-centric society. This demanding world can sometimes suck the life right out of us. And we do deserve some things: love, fairness, and kindness (and chocolate). If we get what we give, then we want to give kindness. It’s always worth it.
At some point every parent utters the words “life’s not fair”, acting as jury and judge between two squabbling siblings. While the argument may be over minor injustices, we have the wisdom to see how much truth lies in those words. Disabilities administer certain injustices that we all wish were not so. For certain members with special needs, privileges such as traditional employment will never be an option. Thankfully there are alternatives to adult day care or unsupervised hours for parents with adult-children with special needs.
What do KIND soap and Worth Industries have in common? Both were borne out of necessity to help others. When Ed Brennan was blinded by an industrial accident, he was compelled to offer a place of refuge and hope, a place where people could find self-worth when the world told them they were worthless. Beginning in his garage, he facilitated an environment for persons with special needs to develop confidence and to find purpose. This mission has continued over 40 years, and will remain the lifeblood of the organization.
Employing over sixty special needs individuals, Worth Industries serves as a place for those who would be considered unemployable in the competitive workforce to have a job they can count on. It is a safe environment to grow friendships. A place where they can contribute to something greater than themselves. A place where they discover their value and self-worth.
KIND soap began out of one mother’s frustration with the options her eczema-riddled son was offered: harsh cremes and steroids meant a lifetime battle with irritated skin. Jean Scholtes decided to take matters into her own hands, retreating to her basement like a mad scientist, determined to create a better life for her son. She emerged with a natural soap that spawned a movement– a movement of KINDness that was founded on three pillars: to be KIND to skin, the earth, and others. From those humble beginnings, over 100 truly natural skin care products now unite both the sensitive and toughest skin types known to man.
It was always about more than soap for Jean. That’s why Worth Industries was a no-brainer when she established the brand. The moment she met the employees who would wrap her natural soaps, she knew she had made the right choice. “We feel it’s part of our mission,” Jean told Entrepreneurially Thinking in July 2018 podcast interview. KIND has always been on-mission to put others first.
It’s not really the work that matters. We could wrap our own soaps. Spend five minutes with the employees of Worth Industries, and you’ll fully understand why we love partnering with them. Their contagious smiles and frank, witty comments will fill your cup until it runs over.
They’re not just co-workers, they’re a family unit. Spending time together outside of their working hours, their jobs have given them lifelong friendships. Families have a camaraderie, and their special needs adult-children are given purpose. The people of Worth Industries gain personal development through the social aspects of working alongside peers with a wide array of challenges, both mentally and physically.
When we visit Worth, we have a blast. High fives, fist-bumps, and hugs make you feel welcome. Bring a camera, and you find out just how much fun they can be! Hamming it up, posing, and even doing a little dance, they all want a piece of the action.
Every Act Counts
We don’t consider ourselves saints for involving the awesome people of Worth. We consider our circle to be a little bigger and brighter. We want to keep expanding it too, by including you. We want to hear about the people who make their little corner of this planet brighter too. It’s been said that “…there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness, [that] every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”(1) We are simply adding to the ripple.
Worth Industries wraps thousands of bars of soaps for us each year, and we treasure the relationship we have developed with them over the past 8 years. We’re not stopping here. We want to inspire others to be kind through small, daily acts of kindness. We know that it will always be worth it.