Why, indeed. As the sister in law of a man in his 50's with autism, who has spent much of his working life in a sheltered workshop environment, I ask that question a lot. At some point, my brother in law may be facing unemployment, with the closing of these workshops in New York State due to withdrawal of funding.
A father and a brother decided to take matters into their own hands.
They caught the Rising Tide.
The son of a friend sent me a link on Facebook a couple of days ago - a link to a video about a car wash in Florida - a car wash called Rising Tide.
This car wash employs mainly individuals with autism. In other words, this venture came out of the love of a father for his son, and the love of a brother for his brother with autism. The two brothers work there together at the business.
I hope that their "CanDo Business Ventures" doesn't mind if I quote from their website, as I feel their message is so important. People with autism, in the correct environment, have a lot to contribute to our society. And, why should my brother in law's disability be such that he ends up in a job where he, and his co workers, make less than the minimum wage? How can someone ever strive towards independence if they are kept down by the inability to earn a living wage?
The owner of Rising Tide asks, on his website:
"Is someone in your family affected by Autism? Have you ever asked yourself the question,“What will my family member with autism do when I am no longer around to take care of them?” If you’re like us, this question has not only crossed your mind but is a concern that keeps you up at night. This simple fact is the inspiration behind CanDo Business Ventures.This is their philosophy:
John’s son, Tom’s younger brother, Andrew, has autism. ...Although a vibrant, light hearted young man, Andrew’s disability is a clear competitive disadvantage when it comes to securing gainful employment. We believe that Andrew and others like him have difficulty getting a job, not because people don’t want to help, but rather because businesses are simply not set up to accommodate the needs of people like Andrew."
" More than just a job, our plan is to have the businesses we build be a cornerstone to create supportive communities of individuals with autism where we teach them the skills needed to live independently and self advocate."
I wish them much success, because I believe this father and son duo can help to transform the world of employment for people like my brother in law. And, we could sure use a good carwash with all of our salt-encrusted cars in New York State.
If you live anywhere near Parkland, Florida - why don't you catch the Rising Tide and give them a try?