My son Elijah John Kendrick was born October 16, 2005, just 3 months after I started Digital Technology Partners. It was a rough pregnancy for my wife and I, as Elijah was born with a heart defect and Down Syndrome. The next year was spent being more of a nurse than a parent, feeding tubes, medications, and two heart surgeries for Eli. Our lives would never be the same.
Elijah is non-verbal, and has grown up with sensory processing, sleep disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and behavior issues. When Elijah was 8, he was diagnosed with Autism. It didn’t really shock us, but it was still devastating.
To date, there have been a mass amount of resources that have helped Elijah and our family cope and deal with the struggles he has had to face. He is doing so well, and has come so far. I can’t say how proud I am of him. He has a wonderful personality outside of these challenges, and continues to get better every day.
Elijah and individuals like him have a lot of resources available to them until they age out of public school at the age of 21 years old. After 21, there are few programs available for the growing number of Adults with special needs. I want to do something about it!
I have always been passionate about computers and technology and hoped that my sons (Elijah and Gavin, my youngest) might follow this passion as well. With the lack of adult resources and my desire for Elijah to be able to work with computers, I developed the idea of starting a new division. The concept is simple, but the impact is great. The program will provide a recycling center for DTP’s clients and other dental offices and businesses to properly dispose of unwanted electronics. DTP will employ adults with special needs to dismantle such electronics, and prepare them for either scrap or reuse. We will simply call the division “Work 4 Eli,” which is a symbol of the program that will provide employment opportunities for adults like Eli. If successful, when Eli gets older, he might have a job waiting for him as well!
There is an important ecosystem here to consider. A lot of companies give money to different non-profits and other organizations. However, this program has a circular effect that benefits 3 parties:
- Dentists, receive a service for safely disposing unwanted old electronics, knowing it will be done abiding by HIPAA standards, and proper e-waste techniques, as well as a good feeling knowing they had a part in creating jobs for adults with disabilities
- DTP as a company will benefit from the gratitude they will see from these employees.
- Special needs adults who receive the employment opportunities from this program.
Because this model doesn’t consist of any “handouts,” it can sustain itself over time, and everyone wins.
I hope you can share some of the same excitement I have around this program, and I look forward to seeing all the good we can bring together!
Learn more at dtpartners.com/work4eli.