A maple seedling sprouts from the crack of a busy city sidewalk. So little space, such dismal odds and yet there it is—fresh, green, and vibrant. We take notice when we see how life seizes upon the smallest opportunity. When the life emerging from disadvantage is human, we respond with The Arc.

The Arc of Indiana has been championing intellectually and developmentally-disabled Hoosiers since 1988. Besides financially securing the lives of those with special needs through their Master Trust, The Arc advocates for their rights and facilitates opportunities for fuller lives integrated within the community.

Schmidt Associates is partnering with the organization on a highly innovative project—a hospitality training institute and teaching hotel for individuals with a disability. This exceptional Courtyard Marriott is the first of its kind in the nation—and hopefully a model for others.

The Teaching Hotel and Training Institute will provide individuals with disabilities on-the-job service training in the hospitality industry. It will also serve as a resource providing employment opportunities, both at the Courtyard Marriott and in the hospitality industry in their own communities. Additionally, this inspirational project will allow for entrepreneurial opportunities for people with disabilities within the hotel.

Life is never going to be perfect, but it is workable—more so when met with understanding and innovation.