KANKAKEE – On Friday, State Representative Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) recognized Sweet Darren’s in the 79th District for her November Local Business Spotlight. Sweet Darren’s is partnered with two local high schools to engage students with disabilities and teach them life skills before they graduate. They provide the best tasting treats with the secret ingredient of love.
“One part of my job as state representative is to protect our state’s most vulnerable, and Sweet Darren’s provides a phenomenal opportunity for students with disabilities in our area to participate in a fulfilling work program,” said Rep. Haas. “Not to mention, they have delicious treats from bakery items to ice cream that keeps customers coming back! They succeed in their mission to remind the world there is always a reason why we meet people, whether to change their lives or for them to change ours.”
Sweet Darren’s is owned by Jolene Boothe and Justin Caldwell and was inspired by Darren Joseph Boothe. He was born in May 2009 and has multiple disabilities, including speech and language impairment. Darren is described by his school district as “one of the happiest kids on earth” and shows his family and the world that a little courage can go a long way. Sweet Darren’s is an opportunity for families of individuals with disabilities to connect and focuses on seeing the world through the eyes of people with disabilities. They allow people to come for job coaching and prepare individuals with disabilities for a rewarding career path.
The next goals for Sweet Darren’s are to open a brick-and-mortar shop that is larger to serve more people, employ several special needs adults, and employ a support staff to make the dream possible. Menu favorites include the cinnamon roll, monster cookies, confetti cupcakes, and turtle cheesecake. Ice cream by the scoop or pint can be purchased, as well as pies and crisps. They also cater for weddings, birthday parties, and large corporate events.
Sweet Darren’s is always looking for volunteers. Orders can be made at sweetdarrens.com for treats as well as merchandise saying the shop’s slogan: “Changing lives one baked good and one scoop at a time.”