It all began in 1950 when a Maumee couple, Roy and Georgette Engler, opened Sunshine home for children with developmental disabilities. The Englers’ five children had disabilities at a time when the world often institutionalized those who were different.
Today, Sunshine Communities supports more than 400 men, women and children with developmental disabilities living in Northwest Ohio. The original Maumee campus, which includes the Englers’ home, is still home to about 50 men, women, and children. The campus also houses a publicly accessible therapeutic pool, small gym with adaptive equipment, and a barn for therapeutic riding and a greenhouse where crews raise produce for the community.
Sunshine also operates 20 family care homes in Lucas and Fulton County and supports residents in a number of other locations. A 21st home – our first in Wood County – is expected to open early in 2019.
Sunshine also supports those who wish to work either at Sunshine or in the community. Among the many options are positions at At Georgette’s in Uptown Maumee, where great meals and customer service are provided by kitchen crew and wait staff who are part of Sunshine’s supported employment program and Sunshine Studios two doors down, where artists of all abilities can work side by side. And Georgette’s gift shop, adjacent to the cafe, offers unique, fair trade and locally-made gifts that support people with developmental disabilities.
The Englers’ family home today is Georgette’s coffee packaging plant at Sunshine’s original campus. There, crew members with developmental disabilities measure and package the beans for more than a dozen Georgette’s roasts and specialty blends.
Sunshine also owns Solana, a software and business services company with the sole focus on agencies that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Wauseon-based business serves more than 15,000 users in 30 states.