Our History


Julie Rizzo and Sherrie Benkovich

The Green Abilities program started in 2010, when Julie realized her granite recycling processes were very repetitive.  She knew there had to be a solution and she was determined to find it.  

Sherrie has been the Director at Green Abilities since 2013.  She started working on the line in a sheltered workshop at Opportunity Enterprises over 20 years ago.  She worked her way to the top managing over 250 clients.  Sherrie's  favorite Uncle Chuckie has Down Syndrome and her special daughter Sarah was born with special needs too.

Sarah has since passed.

 There is not a day that goes by for Sherrie knowing her mission is to help people with disabilities.  She regularly makes ground-breaking discoveries to help the Green Abilities artisans achieve goals they never dreamed imaginable.  


Green Abilities Certification

In 2010, Julie volunteered for a year with TAP (Transition To Adulthood) students between the ages of 18-21 at two local high schools in Northwest Indiana.  By giving over 50 students a chance to showcase their abilities, she was able to develop procedures that would help them identify color specifications, packaging formulations, sorting techniques and a host of additional technical manufacturing processes to recycle materials such as granite, wood and other reclaimed waste streams.


Award Winning Achievements

The Green Abilities innovation process  been recognized in the U.S. Congressional Record twice.  Julie was honored as a Fellow in the prestigious Society of Innovators and has won many awards including:  Working Woman of the Year, Indiana Commission for Women Torchbearer, Green Light Hall of Fame and many more. 

"My goal is to grow the Green Abilities program across the country.  By giving people a chance to prove their abilities we can create hundreds of jobs with materials that are being sent to landfills."  Julie Rizzo - Green Abilities Founder