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April 30, 2019

John’s Crazy Socks and Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, Inc. (ACLD): Working Together to Show What’s Possible

From the beginning, John’s Crazy Socks has worked to show what people with differing abilities can do if only given a chance. After all, our co-founder, John Cronin, has Down syndrome, yet he has shown himself to be an award-winning entrepreneur, public speaker and forceful advocate (and a pretty good dancer too). And almost from the beginning, we have worked with ACLD to help carry out this mission.

ACLD is a leading Long Island based not-for-profit agency devoted to supporting the pursuit of an enviable life for children and adults with autism, learning and other developmental disabilities. We love their tag line: ACLD for an enviable life.

At John’s Crazy Socks, we say we want to show what’s possible. That means showing the world what people with differing abilities can do. But it also means showing people with differing abilities what possibilities are open to them. And it means giving them a chance. These objectives lead to a natural partnership with ACLD.

Here are some of the ways we work together:

 

We serve as an assessment site for ACLD: As part of its vocational programs, ACLD conducts an individualized program consisting of testing and real work assessments. It is designed to determine a person’s abilities, interests and needs in order to identify realistic work goals and employment outcomes. ACLD’s evaluation is comprised of a combination of comprehensive written tests and community-based/school-based individualized situational assessments.

We serve as an assessment site for ACLD, a place where they can bring a new client to see how he or she performs certain tasks and operates in the work place. Those assessments usually last a few hours and maybe a few days, but it gives both the client and ACLD an idea of some skills the client can perform and how they will do in a job setting.

Work Group Experience: In our effort to help people with differing abilities see some of the possibilities open to them, we host six work groups a week in our office and warehouse. These work groups consist of four to eight people who come to our facility once per week for a 15-week period. We teach them different job skills and give them an opportunity to perform those job skills.  ACLD brings a work group to our site so their clients can learn some skills, gain some experience and earn some confidence. 

We Hire People through ACLD: Part of our mission is to create jobs for people with differing abilities. ACLD has helped us fill some of those jobs. We have hired employees who came to us through the onsite assessment process and well as through the work groups. Some of our earliest and best employees (we’re looking at you Elissa and Matt) came to us from ACLD.  

ACLD Provides Job Coaching Services for Some of Our Employees: Some of our employees have job coaches and ACLD provides job coaching for several of our employees at John’s Crazy Socks. We work with those job coaches to make sure our employees make the most of their experience with us. That includes continuous improvement in their assigned roles as well as exploring other skills that may lead to promotions or other work at John’s Crazy Socks. Some examples of additional development include Matt taking on a job of writing sock descriptions, Riley managing our office kitchen and Miranda taking responsibility for our scanning operation.

We Contract with ACLD for Cleaning Services: ACLD has created a business that cleans offices and commercial spaces and it is staffed by people with differing abilities. We contract with them to clean our offices. All businesses can support people with differing abilities by hiring subcontractors that hire people with differing abilities.  

While the focus of our work with ACLD is on our employees and offering opportunities for people with differing abilities, we do what we can to support the work of ACLD:

  • John and Mark spoke at their Unsung Heroes Luncheon in 2018.
  • We have several teams of our employees participate in the ACLD Bowling Tournament each spring.
  • We donate boxes of socks for charity auctions held by ACLD.
  • And we make and sell ACLD socks that raise money for the organization. Supporters of ACLD can buy the socks knowing that $2 from every pair goes to ACLD.

At John’s Crazy Socks, we are fortunate to work with a number of social service agencies and we love them all. Like a parent, we do not have a favorite, but ACLD was the first agency with which we worked and in that regard that will always have a special place within our organization.  We admire the work they do.

 

About John’s Crazy Socks

John’s Crazy Socks is a father-son venture inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks, or what he calls his “crazy socks.” We're on a mission to spread happiness.

John’s Crazy Socks is a social enterprise with both a social mission and a business mission.  The company is built on four pillars:

  • Inspiration and Hope: Showing what is possible when you give a person a chance. We hire people with differing abilities, share videos to show what people can do, host school tours and school groups that come for work experience. We want the world to see what people with differing abilities can do. John’s Crazy Socks currently has 39 employees, 23 of whom have a differing ability.
  • Giving Back: We donate 5 percent of our earnings to the Special Olympics and raise money through our Sock of the Month Club and charity and awareness socks for our charity partners like Autism Speaks, the Autism Society of America, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Williams Syndrome Association. We have raised over $290,000 for our charity partners and publish a monthly Giving Back Report.
  • Socks You Can Love: We have over 2,300 different socks plus a Sock of the Month Club, gift boxes and gift bags. And we match the great socks with great service: we do same day shipping so most of our customers receive their socks within two days of ordering.
  • Making It Personal: Every package gets a thank you note from John and some candy.

Please see our website for more information about our openings. For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, please visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or email us at service@johnscrazysocks.com

 

Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, Inc. (ACLD):

ACLD’s mission is to provide opportunities for children and adults with autism, learning and developmental disabilities to pursue enviable lives, promote independence and foster supportive relationships within the community.

Founded in 1957, Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities (ACLD) is a leading Long Island based 501(c)(3), not-for-profit agency serving the needs of more than

3,000 children and adults with autism, learning and developmental disabilities and provides support to their families.

To carry out our mission, ACLD employs more than 1,300 people and operates 80 different program sites including community residences and apartment programs across Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Services include early childhood services, day habilitation, residential alternatives, vocational training and job placement, recreation programs, respite, family support services, Medicaid service coordination, and occupational, speech and physical therapies.

Among the awards won by ACLD was the 2017 Long Island Imagine Award for Innovation.

You can learn more about ACLD at their website.

 


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