Achievements Unlimited’s purpose is to enable and increase independent functioning, physical health and development, language and communication skills, socialization, community integration, domestic and economic management, and functional skills development. A cornerstone of the AU approach is “micro-enterprise”. A micro-enterprise is a small business started by AU clients, or a volunteer activity that takes place on the AU campus but directly benefits the outside community. Some example “micro-enterprises” include:
Garden (“Green Achievements”): Participants have started a garden in which participants grow vegetables and other plants to sell at local farmers’ markets and produce stands. This project will help participants learn a skilled and employable trade in gardening and growing practices, and learn important social skills such as teamwork and participant service. Participants are involved daily for 1-2 hours depending on that day’s task and need.
Laundry Service (“Clean Achievements”): A community laundry service will provide seniors and other community members a low cost alternative to Laundromats and traditional cleaners. Wash, dry, and fold will take place on site and customers may drop off and pick up, or our participants may assist them with drop off and pick up. This project helps to build daily living skills, learn a skilled and employable trade, as well as experience in customer service. Participants are involved daily as needed with laundry service orders.
Gift Baskets: Participants assemble gift baskets for sale and donation to organizations such as shelters, nursing homes, mental health clinics, and hospitals such as Safe Connections, University Forest Care Center and Ackert Park Nursing Home, and Unity Hospice. Participants perform every step from shredding colored paper to fill the bottom of the basket to making small gifts such as candles and holders, bath salts, body scrub, and lip-gloss. Each basket includes a ready-made gift and a handmade gift by the participants. Participants also fill candy and treat bags, make cards, wrap the baskets with cellophane, and deliver the baskets weekly. Participants are involved weekly for 1-2 hours depending on demand and need.
Laundry Soap: Participants make homemade laundry soap on site to donate to shelters, such as The Kingdom House, , Room at the Inn, Gateway 180, and nursing homes, and make available to the community as a low cost, environmentally friendly alternative to commercial laundry soaps. Participants learn important production and assembly skills through manufacture of shredding bars, mixing in ingredients, and packaging of the soap into donated jars. Participants will learn basic marketing skills through labeling and decorating jars. Delivery of the soap and purchasing of needed supplies will also serve to increase participant’s daily living and participant service skills. Participants are involved weekly for 1-2 hours depending on that day’s task and need.
Art Projects: Participants are engaged with local artists to create sellable works of modern art. The participants have assisted with the decoration of the Achievements Unlimited, Inc. office, which includes a gallery of art works on sale. Participants have shown at Univeristy of Missouri-St. Louis, Meshuggah Coffee House, and Old Orchard Gallery. Most recently, an artist from AU was honored with one of the top prizes in the statewide Department of Mental Health Director’s Creativity Showcase (placing 4th in the state while competing against nearly 300 competitors). Participants are involved weekly in art tasks for 1-2 hours routinely.