Girl Boss 2018: Charmaine Solomon

Charmaine Solomon // photo Jennifer Shertzer

The plan started as scribbled notes on the back of a napkin one day over coffee in 2006. Those doodles would eventually become a game plan for creating a new livelihood for hundreds, if not thousands, of adults with special needs.

A few mothers of high school graduates with special needs expressed that they wanted something more for their maturing children than a life sitting in a room watching television all day.

So, the concept became concrete for My Possibilities, a Plano-based non-profit that serves as a pioneering leader in vocational education for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The groups dream became reality in 2008 when they raised $200,000 and opened the doors to 10 students.          

One founder, Charmaine Solomon, has continued her faith-led journey; she is currently chairman of the board and a licensed professional counselor at My Possibilities. Charmaine and her family relocated to Plano in 1999 with her husbands job at Cadbury, which is owned by Dr Pepper.

Charmaine’s now 32-year-old son, Kyle, sustained a head injury in an accident as a baby while the family was living in her native South Africa.

When my world changed [after Kyles injury], I wanted to help others and not follow my own path,she said. I fight for rights of people with special needs and spend most of my time defending the underdog.

Those attending My Possibilities range in age from 18-75 and are affectionately called HIPsters, or Hugely Important People. Charmaine regularly strolls the corridors of the newly opened Campus for Higher Learning off the George Bush Tollway; the eyes of HIPsters light up when they spot her, and subsequent hugs and high fivesare abundant. The new campus serves 450 students a week.

Simply put, Charmaine is Wonder Woman,according to Michael Thomas, executive director. She has volunteered between 30 to 50 hours a week for 10 years and has never been paid a penny.

Charmaine is also involved in several community service organizations where she spreads the word about the program. At Chase Oaks Church, Charmaine participates in a special needs Bible study and a marriage mentoring group.

“As a person of faith,” Charmaine added, “things work out the way they should.  Everything comes back together.”

See all of the 2018 Girl Bosses >
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