A couple’s new nonprofit organization intends to reopen part of the defunct Flower Barn in Westmont Borough and employ solely adults with disabilities, the organization’s founder said.
Vince Lovendeski, of Rolling Hills Road, said his 22-year-old son has autism, and he’s seen how people with disabilities are excluded from the workplace.
“When people with special needs reach age 21, boy things really dry up. They give you an $800 social security check, and basically tell you ‘go sit in front of the TV.’ There are very marginalized, isolated, health problems that set in because they are not getting exercise.
“They become isolated from society.”
Lovendeski, and his wife, are slated to acquire a portion of the Flower Barn property on Bucknell Avenue this week.
He presented his business plan to Westmont Borough Council on Tuesday during a regular meeting at the Westmont Municipal Building.
“This is one-of-a-kind right now. We are on the cutting edge of hiring adults with disabilities,” Lovendeski said.
“We are planning on continuing operations as it has been in the past: selling flowers, plants, shrubs. We plan on renovating the property and cleaning it up because it has become a little bit in disrepair.”
The plans involve hiring initially between 12 and 14 adults with physical and mental disabilities, he said. Some would have one-on-one job coaches or transportation provided by government funding, he added.
“They would become integrated with society, gain a sense of worth and they would also have physical exercise,” he said.
Lovendeski said he plans to open the Flower Barn for business April 30 under the name SEADS of Love. SEADS stands for Sustainable Employment for Adults with Disabilities.
Lovendeski said the business’ planned location is not the Flower Barn proper but a part of the property on Bucknell Avenue.
In addition, a house at 215 Blair St. is in Lovendeski’s plan to be repurposed as an office/ break room or sensory room for employees.