Our Story & Mission
We believe in the power of an Inclusive Community
Andy's Dandys is a Small Biscuit on a Big Mission. We were imagined into life in 2008 from Andrew's passion for exploring creative healthy recipes and his devotion to Rosie, the family's beloved canine companion, as a way to ensure he'd have a fun place to work as an adult. For folks with Down syndrome like Andrew, finding a meaningful job can be a real challenge. While we've since grown into a commercial bakery space baking thousands of treats a week, we are still hand crafting our tasty and crunchy biscuits with all the delicious homemade goodness of those early days, packed to the brim with delicious flavors and 100% human grade ingredients.
Our mission to support Andrew in his growth from high school to adult work life has expanded as well, as we'd quickly realized we could provide opportunities for Andrew's friends through the bakery, too. Now we focus on supporting late teens and young adults with disabilities during that transitional time in life when we learn how to be an employee, teaching real work-based concepts and skills that students can take with them in their job search for future employment. Two of our own program graduates have even stayed on to become permanent employees!
Andrew's roles in the company range from baking and decorating treats to making deliveries to our local retail partners and promoting our business at trade shows and seasonal events. Andrew's mom Lucie runs the bakery and heads up product design, family friend and business partner Lesha, a special educator, creates and implements individualized work training programs for other young adults with disabilities. Andrew's sister Marie leads development, building new community partnerships and other fun special projects.
Andrew comes to work every day proud of the business we have grown together. "I love my job!" he'll joyfully proclaim-- and being his family, we feel the same! We feel so fortunate being able to work together every day doing something we love, for people and animals we love.
Our Training Program Partnerships
Andy's Dandys was built on the mission of creating opportunities for young adults with unique learning styles to build skill sets and access jobs they care about. The programs themselves have evolved over the years alongside our students, because our training programs are student-centered, tailored to the individual student and designed to reflect how that particular student learns best.
Because we understand the unique and specific nature of our students' learning profiles, our programs begin with first identifying a student, and then building the curriculum around that particular student, and each one is dynamic, able to grow or change in response to our students' needs and interests and the environment in which they find success. For example, one student's program might run right here in our bakery focusing on production and operations, while another may take place in a student's school environment centered on planning and running a business, another in a community setting focusing on sales and customer service. This creates opportunity for students to engage in robust learning and acquire enduring skills they can then apply to the job of their choosing.
Graduates currently employed at Andy’s Dandys work in the baking, decorating, packaging, sales and customer service parts of the business. Other graduates of the program have used their acquired skills to seek employment in their local communities.
Meet our partner organization: SD Associates
Please contact our special projects director Marie Johnson at email@example.com for to inquire about partnerships or other opportunities.
Covid-19 Update: April 2022
With the recent easing of Covid-19 restrictions in schools, we have been able to cautiously begin implementing programs with school-age students again in a variety of ways, including programming centered on pre-vocational skill development as well as job exploration. We hope to be able to continue to expand opportunities for students in the coming months as access allows!
Our commitment of over 10 years to specialized training for those with unique and challenging learning profiles has resulted in students becoming more qualified and confident employees when entering the workforce. We are proud to say that many of our current employees are graduates of our own training programs and they have held jobs here and at other companies and organizations for many years.
"We welcome employers and students to learn and grow through our experience!"
- Lesha Rasco, Andy's Dandys Training Program Director