For nearly 16 years Little Red Hen has served the North State community’s developmentally disabled residents. Originally started with one plant nursery, the non-profit organization has expanded over the years to include five retail stores and employs over 135 developmentally disabled adults diagnosed with such illnesses and disorders as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism.
“When I started with the company 10 years ago we had only one location, our nursery. It has been great to watch us grow to five retail stores,” says senior manager Kelley Parsons.
At the core of this nonprofit is a dedicated staff committed to helping provide independence for its employees, who at other companies could potentially be paid only 25 cents per hour according to federal guidelines and social security. By offering employment at higher than minimum wage, the organization gives a sense of accomplishment to their employees. “Paying more than minimum wage is important to building confidence,” says Parsons.
Little Red Hen’s partnership with the Far Northern Regional Center provides the funding and referral system for many of its employees. Annually, the nonprofit organization donates thousands of dollars to the local community, supporting job training for special needs high school students and offering scholarships to student teachers pursuing their degree in special education.
In mid-March, the Vintage Hen store will relocate to Main Street in downtown Chico. This store specializes in mid-century modern, rustic traditional, shabby chic and vintage-inspired items and refurbished furniture. To purchase online, or for more information on their programs and locations visit Little Red Hen at http://www.littleredhen.org.