WESTER CHESTER, Pennsylvania – Elaine Scott’s daughter, Emily, was born 25 years ago. And when Emily was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Elaine turned to a support group for parents like her.

“I sent out 135 coffee invitations at home, and, lo and behold, a large group of people came with their children,” she said. “And at this meeting we decided that everyone would like to continue to meet on a regular basis.”

They set up an interest group with Down syndrome in Chester County, which has been a support system for local families for more than two decades.

Through this community, Elaine met Colin Brennan, whose daughter also has special needs. Their friendship later blossomed when they became co-managers of Kati Mac Floral Designs.

“It was a dream,” Colin said. “We really wanted to create an environment where people with special needs could come and work.”

The couple founded the Katie Mack Educational Fund after taking over the helm of an existing flower shop. Last summer, they opened the door to help potential employees like their own children.

“My daughter Emily, she’s been looking for different jobs since she graduated from high school,” Elaine said. “But the idea of ​​working from nine to five was simply not offered to her.”

Emily’s week consisted of a multi-task puzzle with two to three-hour work windows. But she found more growth opportunities in Kati Mac Floral Designs.

“People with special needs like to work all the time,” she said. – And this is a special feeling.

Katie Mack employs six people with special needs, two of whom are part of the Chester County Discover Intermediate Unit program. Each is trained to participate in all stages of the flower arrangement process.

“Someone with special needs may need a little more time to complete a task,” Colin said. “We give them that time.”

These Chester County moms hope these opportunities go far beyond the four walls of their flower shop.

“We hoped that by creating such a work environment at Kati Mac, we were creating a long-term, loving job opportunity that would be reflected not only in West Chester but in the Chester County community as a whole,” Elaine said. .

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