A thrift store trains people with autism
On Thursday, they are hosting a fundraiser at Fleming Island Golf Club to raise $25,000 for ESE Professional Education.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla – A St. Johns County company trains people with autism to work and adapt to adult life. They fundraise to expand their impact.
Spectrum Thrift Store owners head to the greens to raise funds to continue doing what they do and support other SEE job training programs in the community.
If you wonder what it might look like, go shopping there. You can meet employee Jasmyn Dreher.
“When the clothes are almost slipping off the hangers, I put the bottom hangers on. I put them on well to fix them,” she explains.
She is 25 years old. Dreher sees her job at the thrift store as an opportunity.
“I like helping customers, sorting clothes and stuff,” says Dreher.
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Owner Alisa Tillman quit her career in 2018 to open the thrift store. She did it for her son.
“I have a son who is on the autism spectrum,” Tillman says. “So, and I always wondered what he was going to do when he grew up?”
Tillman sees the store as a starting point. She says she and her son loved buying things from thrift stores and sprucing them up.
When the space opened, her husband encouraged her to create a space where her son could learn professional skills.
Today, she works with autistic children and young adults. As shoppers come to buy necessities, she teaches necessities to people with autism.
Not everyone they train is an employee. They can come as volunteers. The goal is not for them to stay.
Tillman says the goal is for them to leave the store with the job skills and resume to land them a job.
“Most of them don’t even socialize with other kids or other people. Here, they not only get to socialize with other people like them, but they also learn retail training on the job,” says Tillman. “We got 13 jobs for our kids, yes, in the four years we’ve been here! ”
Everything about this store is one of a kind, especially the people.
The golf race will begin at noon Thursday at Fleming Island Golf Club.
You can buy Spectrum Thrift and support their mission. They have a store in Fruit Cove and a new store in Jacksonville on Old St. Augustine Rd.
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