Bigger Dreams was founded by Leigh and Oliver Edwards, the parents of two autistic children. Our children, and thousands like them, will never live independently, nor be able to hold down jobs in the competitive job market. It is our intention to build a compound where they can live safely, and as independently as possible. To work with at meaningful jobs, overseen by skilled job coaches, with the intention that they can be trained in skills that might help transition them into the competitive job market.
Our compound will also have a section that will include a retirement village. This village will include parents of residents. Folks who wish to live close to their adult children, but not with them. The retirement community will be people, like us, who are still vital members of society, who will spend some of their retirement hours working with the residents.
We plan to farm some of the land, grow our own vegetables and fruit. We'd like to add bees and goats too. Other job opportunities will include light manufacturing, rubber stamps for the art industry, soap making, and ceramics. All of which will be for sale online. We will add a farmer's market and a craft market to supply the surrounding communities with things the residents produce.
In the 10 year plan we'd like to incorporate a group of cottages, and a main building to rent out for art retreats, corporate retreats, and a summer camp for children with special needs.
Our village will have, at its center, a central dining room where employees, residents, parents and retirees will congregate for their daily meals. This also offers opportunities for food service jobs for residents. We hope one day to make this into a weekend restaurant so families from surrounding communities can come for meals and a movie in the media center. It will also serve as a place we can hold dances and parties for ourselves, and inviting the surrounding communities. It is our goal to provide the residents with as many socially integrated opportunities as is possible. To give them good job skills, and a home where they are loved and well taken care of.
Our primary goal in Bigger Dreams Academy is to support the residents' growth toward independence.
This includes formal classwork in the 3 R's, classes to promote socialization and personal confidence, and job training in a marketable trade. We encourage trying and learning how to live in an offsite apartment, and ultimately how to succeed in the competitive labor market.