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A Job Is Worth More Than Money For People With Developmental Disabilities

Two adults with developmental disabilities make candles.
Courtesy of Extraordinary Ventures
Caroline and Johnny make candles at one of the businesses Extraordinary Ventures owns.

The transition from high school to college or the job market is difficult for many people, but it can be especially difficult for people with developmental disabilities. The Chapel Hill-based nonprofit Extraordinary Ventures aims to bridge that gap. It operates six small businesses that employ more than 50 people with developmental disabilities. 

A new documentary follows the stories of six of these individuals and shows how finding meaningful work shapes their lives both inside and outside the workplace. Amanda Walls has cerebral palsy and is featured in the film. She talks to host Frank Stasio about her work at Extraordinary Ventures and how it helps her meet friends.

Paige Morrow joins the discussion as well. She is the CEO of Extraordinary Ventures and talks about the unemployment crisis facing adults with developmental disabilities.

Stasio also talks with Laura Hart McKinny, the co-director and co-producer of the film “" target="_blank">Extraordinary People.” McKinny is a professor in the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is also the president of Stone’s Throw Films.

The documentary will be screening at Extraordinary Ventures in Chapel Hill on Thursday, Aug. 16. It will also screen at Camp Royall in Moncure on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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