We all have obstacles to overcome in our lives, but for someone with a disability, those obstacles can be even more challenging. A few weeks ago, the DES Office of Communications was extremely blessed to meet one such individual and her very special family who have thrived and benefited from our DDD Respite services and HAB hours.
Jordan Harter is an amazing 21 year-old woman with Down syndrome, autism, and speech difficulties, who because of her amazing spirit and loving family, lives life to the fullest! She is a Special Olympian and very competitive – as evidenced by the numerous GOLD medals on her wall! She participates in modern dance and ballet, tennis, bowling and several other activities. But the activity that is most amazing is her business, Jordan’s Sweet Treats.
Jordan’s Sweet Treats is run from the comfort of the Gilbert’s family kitchen and is a family affair. Mom Karen handles the more difficult tasks, while also helping Jordan with everything from measuring to cookie-cutting and decorating. Kevin Gilbert, Jordan’s step-father, is the official taste-tester; a responsibility he takes very seriously! “It’s a family effort,” says Kevin. “It brings us together.” Jordan decides what to bake, does the shopping and handles the customer payments. The menu consists of various breads, brownies and cookies (which are fabulous, by the way!) They even do party trays and gift baskets.
What started as a nice gesture for friends has blossomed into a thriving opportunity for Jordan. Both Karen and Kevin’s desire was to teach their daughter life skills so she can live a full and active life. “I don’t see obstacles with her [Jordan],” said Karen Gilbert. “The only obstacle is my limitation.”
When asked what advice they have for other families dealing with disabilities, Kevin said, “Don’t settle. Think outside the box, reach out to others and keep dreaming!”