Sprelly is renowned in Fredericksburg for its gourmet peanut butters and jams. What many do not realize, however, is that Sprelly has opened the door for diversity. Specifically, that co-founders Adrian and Casey Silversmith (husband and wife), have offered opportunities for, and spread awareness of, people with disabilities.
Casey was born with genetic hearing loss. Even so, she will soon be launching her own consulting business, in addition to her work at Sprelly. Casey’s success is a shining example of how people with disabilities can strive in their lives and careers.
Through their activism with the disabled community, Casey and Adrian were introduced to Hector, whose disability has hindered his ability to verbally communicate. Seeing potential and ambition in Hector, the Silversmiths have hired him as an intern at Sprelly with the potential for a full-time position. According to Adrian, offering work opportunities to people with disabilities is essential for their representation.
“There is a workforce out there that is completely underrepresented,” Adrian said, “You just gotta go out and look for it.” He feels that it is critical for businesses to lead by example and hire people with disabilities, like he and Casey are doing with Hector at Sprelly. In Adrian’s words, these businesses should “hop on the Sprelly train.” He pointed to Casey’s success as the owner of two businesses, all while having a disability. This sort of success and equality, according to both of them, is an integral way of breaking stigmas about the disabled community.
“They want the same representation as everyone else, and I think a lot of them don’t feel that,” Casey said.
The Silversmiths noted that some progress has been made in ending these stigmas. Perhaps the most notable example is of the film CODA, which this year won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. CODA is the story of a Child of Deaf Adults, a teenager’s story of growing up with a deaf mother, father, and brother. This sort of symbolic representation, Adrian said, is helpful. But in order for change to truly happen for people with disabilities, businesses and individuals must step up to support organizations that spread awareness of, and help, this community.
The Disability Resource Center (who actually owns the building that houses Sprelly) is an example of such an organization, which Casey is on the board of. Another is Project Search, affiliated with Mary Washington Healthcare. Project Search is a training ground for people with disabilities, and helps them successfully start their careers. There are many ways to support these organizations, from financial donations to volunteering. These contributions, according to Adrian, are critical to giving opportunities to people with disabilities.
With Sprelly and other endeavors, the Silversmiths are doing incredible work in providing these opportunities. They are a true ally to the disabled community, and heavily encourage you to be an alley as well. You can follow Sprelly on Facebook.