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The JumpStart Cart – Mountain Top, PA
Success has no limits.
The JumpStart Cart is a private nonprofit 501c3 organization created to offer the young adult population with special needs a successful and enriching career running and operating a food truck in Luzerne County. The core belief of this foundation is that every individual has the right to a meaningful and satisfying career. With individualized therapeutic support, employees achieve independence, gain valuable skills and self-esteem, and build a foundation for a lifetime of success in the workforce.
The organization provides job opportunities for special needs adults who are entering the workforce after graduation. Their services include adaptations and/or compensatory strategies provided for employees to participate in food preparation. They gain valuable experience in food service, and clean-up. The JumpStart Cart also assists with social skills and provides opportunities to promote successful interactions with community members. Employees also learn valuable time and money management skills. They even explore opportunities to grow and expand upon their skills in food truck operations, food prep, sandwich artistry, customer service and relations.
Serving up independence.
In August of 2015, Jacqueline Elick, MSOTR/L, COO and Co-Founder and Jessica Light, Co-Founder met working in a school for children with autism in Kingston, PA. In early 2019, they decided to begin developing a business plan where they would build a non-profit organization in order to help employ special needs adults, age 21 and over. Jacqueline is an Occupational Therapist with 17 years of experience working with children and adults with special needs.
They were officially established in November of 2019 with the assumption that they would begin operation in the summer of 2020. Despite all of the challenges during the pandemic year, with the dedication and commitment of their board, grants received from the community, and with the generosity of their friends, family, and neighbors, The JumpStart Cart purchased their first cart. A truck was later purchased in 2021 through grant funding, in order to pull the cart to locations throughout Luzerne County.
Fulfilling dreams one sandwich at a time.
They currently have 2 special needs adults that are helping build the success of our program. Their time given during truck operations is allowing them to build job descriptions and provide needed adaptations (visual pictures of sandwiches/job stations, an adapted Apple system register) in order to meet the needs for increased Independence. They have also partnered with a local business, The Broadway Tavern in Mountaintop, PA in order to have a shared facility (kitchen). This allows them to create more employment opportunities as they grow.
A parent who would like to remain anonymous says of the organization: “Every parent plans to raise their child to 18 years, set them free for 30 years, and then hope they come back to help them face the final years of their own life. A special needs parent can sometimes plan to raise their child for 65 years and while doing so also has to prepare for the other 20 or so after they themselves are long gone. Let that sink in for just a moment and you will begin to understand the drive and determination that many of us have while we are on earth. If you have never thought about that, don’t be sorry…be thankful.”
Connect With The JumpStart Cart Online!
The JumpStart Cart is always looking for volunteers and other community support in order to continue to grow their mission and purpose. They can be contacted at 570-233-7567 or via email at [email protected] You can also check them out on their website and don’t forget to follow along on social media.
And, don’t forget to check back here at DiscoverNEPA every month for The Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber’s Member Meet & Greet blog series. We’ll be sharing unique stories and introducing NEPA to the Chamber’s many amazing small business and nonprofit members.