January 19th is National Popcorn Day!
The Popcorn Shack has been a long-time employment partner with JFS and PLAN Clubhouse members, providing both transitional employment and supportive employment opportunities.
PLAN (People Living Active Now) is a program of Jewish Family Service where adults recovering from persistent mental illness come together as a community with the common goal of working towards recovering their mental health, valuing meaningful relationships and hard work.
The owner of The Popcorn Shack, Darla Predtechenskis, feels passionately about the program and knows how to make her business a warm and welcoming place for Clubhouse members to work, especially those who may be struggling with anxiety about rejoining the workforce after taking a break for their mental health.
Over the years, the Popcorn Shack has been a launchpad for eight Clubhouse members, propelling them into the stars of their own success stories. With the job skills training and confidence they gained at the Popcorn Shack, eight part-time employees were able to gain permanent employment with companies like Hobby Lobby, Amazon, and even back at the Popcorn Shack!
As part of the Clubhouse accreditation, PLAN staff work with members to help them find job placements and train them for successful employment. Returning to work after taking a break due to mental illness can often be a challenging transition. Yet, with support from a community that is committed to lifting one another up, it becomes a life-changing opportunity for those who may have doubted their ability or confidence to ever work again.
Beyond financial reward, employment becomes a source of pride and a framework for structure. It also provides the opportunity for an individual to become an active participant in regaining control of their life, helping members achieve goals they once believed would be impossible.
Popcorn Shack employees agree that working there is like working at Willy Wonka’s candy factory! It feels like a magical place with wonderful smells, all the fun popcorn and candy flavors—it’s a sweet deal! The owner, Darla, is always coming up with new popcorn flavors, from Dill Pickle to White Chocolate Lavender, not to mention all the seasonal blends and colorful gift baskets they make!
What popcorn flavor do you think the Popcorn Shack should dream up for the future?
If you’re interested in learning more about PLAN, visit www.jfsdallas.org/PLAN for a list of volunteer opportunities, community events, or other ways to become involved.