Laurie Ruehlman had no idea her mom-and-me project in 2012 would be the catalyst for changing a community of special needs adults. The Boynton Beach, Fla., mother was merely looking for a craft that would create quality time with her daughter. At the same time, Laurie was also thinking of gift ideas for family members. Lauries daughter, Payton has Down syndrome. Oftentimes, it can be difficult for Payton and other persons with special needs to enjoy crafts. Nevertheless, Laurie knew her 10 year-old daughter loved silk scarves, and liked painting. This equation was quickly adding up to win-win!
The entrepreneur purchased several silk scarves and watched Payton’s artistic talents go into action. While Laurie’s approach was more calculated with color schemes and placement, Payton worked “freestyle,” dipping alternative colors and stroking her paintbrush everywhere. Out of the two scarves, Debra, Laurie’s sister and co-founder of Caring Couture, agreed that Paytons scarves were magnificent! “She loves to paint! She loves seeing her scarves on the website,” says Laurie in Caring Couture Makes Scarves By Employing Adults with Down Syndrome, a HooplaHa original short. “I love painting scarves,” says Payton.
Laurie employs other adults with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and various special needs through her Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization. At this For-Purpose company, employees produce exclusive, one-of-a kind, hand-painted silk scarves in an array of colorful hues. They’re also given an opportunity learn a skill, while creating lifelong friendships. “I love painting because it’s one of my favorite things to do,” says Larissa King in the HooplaHa short. “My favorite part is coming here because I want to be closer to my friends,” King states.
“We were blessed to have her born. I felt that Payton was given to me for a reason. That there was something bigger than just being her mom,” Laurie explains. More importantly, Laurie is excited about employing those with special needs. “If you can hold a paintbrush, whether it’s in your hands, your teeth or feet, we’ve got a job for you,” says Laurie, co-founder of Caring Couture.
With the catchphrase, “Changing lives, one accessory, at a time,” numerous employees with special needs are becoming empowered thanks to Caring Couture.
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