Foundation supports more than just finding a job

Brightstone Bowling Team

“BrightStone was created to give our adults a reason to wake up every morning, knowing they have something of value to do,” Founder and Executive Director of BrightStone, Brenda Hauk said.

Adopted by A. O. Smith’s Franklin location as its charity of choice, BrightStone is a non-profit organization in Franklin, Tenn. providing post-secondary comprehensive work and a social support program for adults with special needs.

"BrightStone is actually located down the street from our Franklin facility," Human Resources and EHS Manager, Mike Galloway said. "Eddie Goodwin, our former president, learned about what they do; we visited them and basically adopted them as our charity of choice in 2009.” 

Shortly after Franklin adopted BrightStone, the Foundation announced it would support the organization in 2010. The organization’s strong commitment of providing hope and a sustainable life for individuals who are developmentally challenged aligned perfectly with the Foundation’s mission.

BrightStone serves as transitional job training and life-training center supporting adults ages 21 and up. The center strives to provide adults with a work-based learning program, offering a variety of activities and training to enhance productive work habits and overall job skills.

“We found that there was a great need from parents and families of adults who have special needs to find a sustaining job. A lot of these adults would have an extremely part time job, which included maybe working five hours a week. So we needed to change that,” Hauk explained.

“After this finding, we made the commitment to help our adults get sustainable jobs. We have created collaboration with the community and have gained support and excitement for our adults to be working individuals.”

To enhance the adults’ work habits and skills for their jobs in the community, BrightStone offers a variety of activities and training which include:

  • Vocational training: learning to work;
  • Lifelong training: continuing to learn in areas such as; functional math and reading, general thinking skills, true life applications, manners and respect for others, appropriate work habits, the world around us, cooking and nutrition, and basic computer skills;
  • Social awareness and recreation: learning basic skills in self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and decision-making;
  • Health and wellness: learning to live a healthy life;
  • Community awareness: learning to participate in adult community activities, to partake of community transportation and other supports, and to be viable and active citizens;
  • Music and the arts: learning to express one’s self through choir, playing instruments, painting, drawing, and dance.

All these activities and training included through Brightstone aim to stimulate cognitive, physical, and motor development. 

“We want our adults to experience an inner feeling of success and emotional fulfillment through accomplishing things at their highest level of independence,” Hauk said. 

Not only has BrightStone made an impact on Franklin and the surrounding communities, but has also made an impact on A. O. Smith employees.

“Our employees have been participating in fundraisers and our Franklin location has made donations to different needs like a piano / keyboard and t-shirts for the Special Olympics,” Galloway said. 

Brightstone Day Camp Team Aside from participation and donations from the Foundation, Franklin has created a tradition of donating Thanksgiving turkeys to the adults and staff at BrightStone, participated in bowling teams, and has become regular customers of the BrightStone store that sells handcrafted products and works of arts from the adults.