Workers involved in each step of planning of annual Shares Inc. open house

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GREENFIELD — Participants and workers at Shares Inc. Brandywine Industries took the morning off Tuesday to welcome the community to its world.

In conjunction with Disabilities Awareness Month, Shares held its annual open house to recognize its participants and highlight its programs and customers. The company employs adults with special needs who work in a variety of jobs – from packaging to light manufacturing – even as it trains the workers in important life skills so they can live independently.

About 300 participants, family members and supporters filled the large workshop and warehouse at Shares’ headquarters at 645 S. State St. in Greenfield as the workers gave demonstrations, performed musical selections and received awards for longevity and performance in the workplace.

The annual open house draws those who might not have had the chance to visit the facility or learn what goes on at Shares, said Laura Strachman, living skills coordinator.

“It’s just great to tie the community in with us,” she said.

Since inclusion is one of the company’s main focuses, the workforce was invited to participate in each step of the planning process for the event, Strachman said.

Workers helped with the guest list and planned the menu; sent out invitations; and worked together to set up and clean the facility.

“We want them to be as independent as possible,” she said. “It’s all about them.”

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