The Cook Inclusive Company founder Kaleb Cook began his impact in the disability community in kindergarten when he was paired with Sydney, a student with Down syndrome in his class. These two immediately hit it off, and a beautiful friendship developed. It was recommended that they participate in the same classes throughout grade school as they knew how to best support each other through laughter, acceptance, and kindness.
While in middle school, their peers began treating Sydney differently because of her disability. Kaleb did not understand why people were treating his friend this way and decided to get involved with disability organizations and special education classrooms to create positive change in the disability community.
At a young age Kaleb began joining nonprofit organizations that served individuals living with disabilities such as Best Buddies, Special Olympics, transition centers, adaptive recreation centers and camps for people living with disabilities. He became increasingly involved within this community by developing his own nonprofit programs, including an adaptive dance therapy program, adaptive gardening program, and most recently a workplace transition program for individuals living with disabilities.
In April, 2021, Kaleb Cook, the Cook Inclusive Company CEO was awarded the Leadership Pathways Project Grant through the American Camp Association to start a leadership program for people living with disabilities at a summer camp. Through this support, Kaleb founded the Inclusive Leadership Program at Rocky Mountain Village in Empire, Colorado.
The Inclusive Leadership Program is a workplace transition program for individuals living with disabilities housed at a summer camp. Individuals live independently and work in the camp culinary kitchen to prepare, serve and clean all summer camp meals. The program employs a team of five individuals living with disabilities and two job coach leadership mentors. It focuses on developing skills in independence, workplace readiness, leadership, and social skills.
After a very successful first summer program, Cook realized that there is a critical need for career-focused transition programs for people with disabilities. He then embarked on a journey to develop the Cook Inclusive Company as a way to expand services like the Inclusive Leadership Program to summer camps across the nation. With the development of the Cook Inclusive Company, Kaleb now has the opportunity to employ his best friend, Sydney, at a summer camp for this upcoming summer.