Started as a high school project…
Looking for a better way to teach
The Crafters For Life concept was created by Joanne Curry, a speech language pathologist in the Council Rock School District in Bucks County PA. In the Fall of 2014, Joanne wanted to work on a functional project where she could encourage communication in natural settings for her students. After being denied a grant for the program, Joanne used her own money to purchase the supplies. The lead teacher in the Autistic Support class, Cemantha Giulian, was enlisted to have her class in the project and the results were better than expected. Joanne developed the procedures that the students needed to follow to make different products. This would enforce skills required to follow directions. The next step was to encourage communication and vocational skills by selling the products that they made in class to the school. And the class sold a lot of products! Joanne was reimbursed for her expenses and the class generated a nice profit which was donated to a local charity.
These teachers did not want to see this program stop when the students turned 21, so they worked with parents of two of their students to figure out a way to have it continue. Together, they formulated a plan to keep and expand the skills program in the high school and then create the infrastructure to continue the program after graduation. Crafters For Life, LLC was started in May of 2015 with the purpose of handling all of the branding, marketing, ecommerce, retail sales, and sourcing of materials used to produce the products. Crafters For Life is also tasked with partnering with existing Non-Profits who run adult day programs that could incorporate the crafts program. The adult members served by these non-profits would be paid an hourly wage by Crafters For Life, LLC for the time they spent working on products.
Crafters For Life empowers students with Autism to create quality products for sale, with the goal of transitioning them into contributing members of a self-sufficient work force.
The goal of Crafters For Life is to teach students the skills to make the quality products sold under the Crafters For Life brand. Upon graduation at age 21, the students would then transition into an existing adult day program and continue to make the same products under the same Crafters For Life brand. Crafters For Life hopes to generate the sales that would employ a lot of individuals with special needs because nothing is better than the look of satisfaction from receiving a paycheck!