Community News

ROSIES at the OC Fair

by: O.C. Fair
Posted: July 17, 2017

COSTA MESA...ROSIES Popsicle Stand might look like part of the decor of the culinary exhibitions in the OC Promenade at the OC Fair, but don’t be mistaken. As a branch of ROSIES Foundation, the popsicle stand has a mission that’s not just about selling popsicles – it’s about employing people with diverse abilities. 

“It’s our first year at the OC Fair and we’re super excited to be here,” said founder Lee Chernotsky. “This is the biggest stage we’ve ever had.”

The national average of unemployment for adults with disabilities is 80 percent. The Culver City-based organization aims to beat this statistic by creating jobs and opportunities for those with diverse abilities. Along with a bus that was flipped into an ADA accessible ice cream truck, ROSIES caters at different events, from weddings to block parties.

“This is like a dream come true for us,” Chernotsky said. “Being able to help people and give people an opportunity to be more successful and independent.”

Chernotsky doesn’t just teach his employees how to make ice cream. He also teaches employees about problem solving and other job-related skills. While employees work at the Culver City office, he encourages them to take initiative elsewhere. 

Chernotsky also wants to highlight the passion of his employees. Maya Alves, who is currently working her first job ever at ROSIES Popsicle Stand, has a passion for art. Alves even helped design the outside of the flipped ice cream truck. Alves will take the skills she learned while working for ROSIES and put them into an apprenticeship with a local artist in Los Angeles. 

Another employee, Naayin Akyempon, decided that ROSIES is his passion because he loves working with people.

“I’ve learned how to take initiative, speak up and be confident in myself,” Akyempon said.

Besides running a popsicle stand at the OC Fair, ROSIES has another big project: the #runthebus campaign. The foundation is looking to help gain more funds to continue providing jobs for its current and future employees. 

“Seeing a child’s face light up when they try our foods and breaking a barrier when the child has a conversation with an employee is the most rewarding thing for me,” Chernotsky said. 

Featured items at ROSIES include the strawberry mojito, strawberry mango and watermelon lime vegan bars, “The OC” gelato bars, and the Dough Boy Chiller – a dairy-free frozen yogurt vegan chocolate chip cookie sandwich. ROSIES is available from noon to 5 p.m.  Photo:OCFair

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