Making Mealtime Meaningful: Discover how we're giving back with the 12T Cares program →

This Maryland mother is a proud parent to her special needs boys. However, she went through many struggles over the years. She found that it was very difficult to find inclusive spaces for the boys. That’s why she took the extraordinary step of creating one of her own. We hope that this story serves as inspiration for others to do the same.

According to ABC 7 News, Monique Sotomarino spent 15 years working as a real estate agent before she finally decided to go into business for herself.

Photo: YouTube/Joy Wang

Her new venture is called That Smoothie Place and this is where she provides all sorts of opportunities for those who have special needs. Jobs and internships are offered to anyone who needs one.

In order to provide these chances to those who may not receive them otherwise, she has partnered with Montgomery County Public Schools.

Photo: YouTube/Joy Wang

“I didn’t want to focus just on higher functioning individuals, but individuals of all abilities and give them their opportunity to try this place out,” she says, according to 3 News. This is a wonderful idea and we are glad it has been working out so far.

Monique is cognizant of the fact that it may take a bit longer for everyone’s smoothies to make their way to the table. That’s why she provides entertainment for the customers, so that they do not have the chance to get bored. In a world where everyone seems glued to their phone at all times, it is great to see a place that encourages people to put them down for a bit.

Photo: YouTube/Joy Wang

This proprietor certainly concurs with that assessment. In a perfect world, she would be able to bring That Smoothie Place into other locations and formulate similar partnerships. We love this idea and hope that she is successful in providing more special needs employees with a safe place to work.

The idea may have been inspired by the struggles that she has had with her sons but that does not mean that others cannot benefit.

One day, we would love to see a That Smoothie Place in every city!