Adults with special needs find fulfilling work while filling book orders at Kearney’s Fulfillment House

KEARNEY, Mo. -- The options for life after high school can be limited for graduates with special needs.

That's why one couple in Kearney started the Fulfillment House, a place of fun, love and most of all fulfillment.

"It fulfills dreams. It fulfills lives," Director Marci Riley said.

Working alongside many of her former special needs students that she taught over 26 years in the Kearney School District, she now gets to continue watching them grow.

Riley described her life after teaching like a fairy tale. She's able to work along side her former students, who are becoming just as well known as the authors they fulfill book orders for.

The Fulfillment House is the brainchild of Steven Thorne, the CEO of Paradigm Publishing located in Kearney. Thorne and his wife came up with The Fulfillment House after their son, Jack, who has special needs, graduated from high school.

"You worry about what’s going to happen afterwards. It’s great to know that he has a place to come to work every single day," Thorne said.

"He’s excited to get up and come to work and that he has some friends. And those friendships, relationships continue beyond high school like the rest of us. For me, that’s probably one of the most fulfilling aspects personally."

Financial authors like Charles Payne have agreed to let the associates at the Fulfillment House ship their books all over the county.

When a book order is made, the associates get the order, build the boxes, carefully put the order in the box and prepare that box for shipping.

“Every associate has a stamp, and it says, 'Packed with pride,' and it has their name at the bottom. So at the end of the packaging, they all put one on top. They are so happy to put their card in there that says 'I did this,'" Riley said.

“It is kind of a play on words for sure. We are fulfilling orders while allowing these guys some fulfilling work, and they have a ball. It is the funnest place to come to work on plant earth!” Thorne said proudly.

The Fulfillment House in Kearney started by fulfilling orders as well as fulfilling dreams. It has now become so much more -- by filling hearts full of love all throughout the community and throughout the country.

For more information about the Fulfillment House, visit their website here.

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