MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) -- Wednesday’s Bright Spot sheds light on a small storefront in downtown Middletown that offers more than just items for sale.

Nestled right off of Main Street in Middletown, next to the police department, is the Adelbrook Bark-ery, a one-stop shop that specializes in all things for the dog in your life.

“We work very hard on everything that we do here,” said a student named Cheyenne, who works at the shop.

The store is almost entirely run by students of the Adelbrook Transitional Academy, a community-based vocational program for young adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

“We're like a big puzzle,” said Jackie Peck, director of Adelbrook Transitional Academy. “They fit in with us and it's because we look at them as a whole person and so we get to know their interests, we get to know what things they need help with and what things they're really great at and then we capitalize on that.”

Peck also oversees the Bark-ery.

“Pre-COVID, about 95 percent of our students contributed to the Bark-ery in some way,” Peck said.

“This place is like family to me, it's like my second family,” said Ricky, who also works at the Bark-ery.

It's also a place where you can not only support local vendors, but you support the growth of students, like Cheyenne and Ricky who have worked here for two years now.

“It teaches you how to be punctual and it teaches you how to do so many things like: social skills, job skills, interview skills,” Cheyenne said.

Also, Peck said it teaches them “how they can be as independent as possible, because we're always striving for them to be as confident in themselves and be content and have that sense of self that they can do something.”

Not to mention how its prime location helps students apply those life skills they learn about.

“That real life practice, being able to walk somewhere, crosswalks, the bank, with bus. We are right next to the bus line, they have to find their own bus ticket with the money they've earned from their own paycheck; and they have to make sure they have enough bus trips for the whole week,” Peck said.

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