Blue Sky Acres offers adults with disabilities a career to be proud of

One way these young adults are making money is through carpentry
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 1:59 PM EDT|Updated: May. 3, 2023 at 3:56 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Blue Sky Acres in Effingham County is likely best known for using horses to help those who have physical, mental or emotional challenges.

But one program is giving young adults the chance to not only learn a new skill but use it to make money and perhaps more importantly prove to others and themselves what they’re truly capable of.

The employees at Blue Sky Acres stay busy cutting, nailing, drilling and painting.

“We have bird houses, we have the bee traps, we have decorative churches,” says BSA Program Director Jackie Garman.

An active workshop, that just two years ago didn’t exist.

“We started back in 2021 with nothing but a group of dreamers who wanted to make a difference in the community,” says BSA Executive Director Hallie Myers.

One way they’ve been doing that is with their Supported Employment Program.

“We work with individuals with physical, mental and emotional challenges,” explains Myers.

Giving these young adults a chance to make some money by selling their products.

“It’s so empowering for them, not just to get out of the house, but they’re earning something,” Myers says.

Money, they all have their own way using.

“What do you spend your money on? New guitars?”

“Yeah!” Matthew Redhead responded.

“I’m saving for a swing set,” says Erin Pevey.

“A leaf blower,” added Thomas Lanham.

An income, and a job, that so often can be hard to come by.

“It just provides something for them where they may not be able to hold a regular job because they don’t have that support system,” Garman says.

Something Blue Sky Acres insures all their employees have. Providing a mentor to stand by their side.

But watching them work, you may start wondering who’s really benefiting more.

“I love Miss Karen (Signal) so much!” Lanham says.

“I think I get more out of it than probably they do, which is rewarding in itself for me, just to be able to pour myself into an individual who might not have that,” says Garman.

But thanks to BSA they do have that and unlike so many others these employees love clocking in each day.

“I love work!” Caleb Miller says.

For those who work with them, they don’t plan on clocking out anytime soon.

“When I look at the young adults, when I see them, I know I have to keep fighting for them because so many of them, without this opportunity, they just wouldn’t have any opportunities. Many of them wouldn’t be able to get a job in another place. So, knowing that I can be part of getting them a job, I can be part of empowering and seeing them grow is really what wakes me up and keeps me going,” Myers says.

Right now, Blue Sky Acres is working out of a temporary space after the recent purchase of 43 acres of land in Springfield.

However, they still need help building a new workshop and more on that land.

To raise the money to do that they are hosting a golf tournament next Friday May 12 at The Club at Savannah Harbor.

They still need a few more teams to sign up, if you’re interested in the golf tournament click here. If you want to learn more about the Supported Employment Program click here.