MELVINDALE, Mich. (FOX 2) - Stephanie Jackson's shirt says it all - "Best cookies in the D."
It's all volunteers that measure, mix, drop the dough, bake the goods and package them for sale. It's called Mi Cookie Project, and is a nonprofit for adults with special needs. It is the brainchild of Maggie Gibson.
She taught baking and job development as a special education teacher for decades. Now retired, she is doing it all again and she's on a mission. "Our bakers are amazing and we're trying to teach the community that all of these folks can work, people with disabilities can work."
People with disabilities age out of public schools at the age of 26, often times with no job and nowhere to go. Maggie saw the need and instead of disability, she sees ability.
"Eighty-one percent of people with disabilities in Michigan are unemployed," she said. "We found that this is a wonderful, joyful opportunity for our bakers."
It is all about opportunity, purpose and joy - and what better thing to bake than pure happiness itself. Cookies.
"Chocolate chip, peanut butter, peanut butter chocolate chip, coconut chocolate chip, sugar, snickerdoodles, molasses, oatmeal raisin, oatmeal chocolate chip, oatmeal butterscotch," Maggie said. The list goes on, with cookies for every day and every occasion. Christmas, christenings, weddings, graduations.
"We like to be part of people's celebrations," she said.
But Maggie and Cliff Gibson have baked up more than cookies here, they've started something really special.
FOX 2: "What do you like best about Mi Cookie Project?"
"Helping other people," said Rollie Keller.
"We all get along - we work hard and we do a lot of different things," said Stephanie Jackson.
A lot of different things. Mi Cookie Project includes recreational outings to Pistons game, Tigers games, kayaking, canoeing and the families of the bakers - like Joshua - are so grateful.
"Had Maggie not opened this program he would be sitting home," Teresa Wood, Josh's mother, said. "He loves to come here, he loves the people here, he has lots of friends here."
And he and his friends take great pride in what they do and they know their cookies are pretty darn good.
"They love them and that's good," Rollie said. "They like our cookies."
They sure do.
For more info, go to the program's Facebook Page HERE.