MERIDEN (KSNT)- We are starting a new segment at 27 News that highlights women going above and beyond in their communities, which can sometimes go unnoticed. It’s called Everything Woman. For our first nominee, meet Kak Eli-Schneider.
Eli-Schneider is no rookie when it comes to helping people become their best selves, no matter what journey they are on.
“I work with anybody that has a disability and help transition them from school to real life,” Eli-Schneider said. “Whether that’s college or services that they may need after they get out of school.”
Eli-Schneider is probably a familiar name. She’s been teaching special education in Topeka at the Washburn Rural school district, and other schools in Kansas, for a total of three decades. She teaches all of her students how to transition from school into adult life.
“I’ve never taught anything except special-ed,” she said. “So, I went straight into working on my masters when I finished my bachelors and have taught in special-ed ever since.”
She is now retired from education, but, she can’t sit still for long. A couple of years ago, she was approached by Mammoth Sports Construction company based in Meriden. They knew her background in special education and presented her with an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“They presented Woolly Farms Foundation which is a non-profit that serves adults with disabilities,” Eli-Schneider said. “And it’s to teach them, to continue to help them become contributing members of a community in which they live.”
Woolly Farms Foundation is in its infant stages. It’s been around for less than two years, starting with five members, and now 30 in total. But in this time, Eli-Schneider has found ways to provide a space for adults with disabilities to be a member of their communities in any way possible.
“Our friends with disabilities have so much to teach us, and we can learn so much from working alongside them,” Eli-Schneider said. “But there’s not very many people who are pushing or giving them opportunities to get out there. There’s just not many places for them to do that.”
To this Everything Woman, Kak Eli-Schneider said what she’s doing for these adults isn’t anything extraordinary. It’s just something that runs in her blood, helping and teaching social skills, employment skills and inclusivity.
“What I’m doing is just the right thing to do,” Eli-Schneider said. “I mean, it’s natural to me. So I don’t think what I am doing is any big deal, you know.”
Eli-Schneider said Mammoth and Woolly Farms partnered for many things to help the members of the foundation. One way is giving them job experiences they might not get to do every day in Meriden, like working at the local boutique. The Woolly Farms program is for adults 18 and up.
Every month, we will highlight women whose achievements and contributions might otherwise go unrecognized. If you have an Everything Woman you think we should recognize, nominate them here.