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7 Stories That May Change The Way You See People With Special Needs

4.6 million people in the U.S. live with a developmental disability... and that hasn't stopped these people from achieving their dreams! There are literally thousands of people and organizations supporting those with special needs. These 7 inspiring organizations and individuals are proof that once you put your mind to something, and are given a little bit of help, anything is possible!


1) Blake's Snow Shack - Blake Pyron from Sanger, Texas became the first business owner in the state of Texas with Down Syndrome. Inspired by the Texas heat, Blake decided to open a snow cone truck to help his community cool off!

A Texas Snow Cone Shack That Inspires Community

2) GiGi's Playhouse - GiGi's Playhouse, founded in 2003 in Illinois, is a Down syndrome achievement center that offers educational and therapeutic programs at no charge to families with down syndrome. With over 30 locations nation-wide, GiGi's Playhouse provides life-changing training to over 30,000 people every day!

A Playhouse Where People With Down Syndrome Shine

3) Prospector Theatre - The Prospector Theatre in Ridgefield, CT provides adults with disabilities opportunities for meaningful employment and vocational training through the operation of the movie theater. It provides them with the opportunity to learn and grow as professionals, all while being a part of their community.

Movie Theater Provides Meaningful Employment For Disabled Adults

4) National Down Syndrome Society - Joey Agostino of Norwalk, CT was born with Down Syndrome, but that didn't stop him from following his lifelong dream…of becoming a professional DJ! And after winning the Ethan Salyor Memorial Scholarship from the National Down Syndrome Society, he was finally able to make his life-long dream a reality!

National Down Syndrome Society Scholarship Winner's Dreams Come True!

5) Tim Tebow's Night To Shine - A Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs ages 14 and older. The Night to Shine event was hosted by 375 churches from around the world... all on the same night with 75,000 guests and the support of 150,000 volunteers.

Tim Tebow's Night To Shine: An Epic Experience For Special Kids

6) Inclusion Films - This vocational program is to provide special needs adults with entry-level working experience that they can take into the film industry or any career they want to follow. The program encourages independence, self-confidence, communication, and collaboration through acting and digital filmmaking. And this summer's Short Film Camp (Camp Kindness), Inclusion Films along with the students are creating a campaign around the importance of simple acts of kindness.

Film Workshop Teaches Movie Making To Adults With Developmental Disabilities

7) Rising Tide Car Wash - John D'Eri and his son, Tom, first opened Rising Tide in April of 2013 to provide their autistic son and brother Andrew a means of employment. Its mission is to employ adults with autism and provide them with the opportunity to build a career and achieve an independent lifestyle. To date, the car wash has hired over 90 associates with autism!

Father Opens Florida Car Wash And Watches Autistic Son Thrive

This HooplaHa original video was edited by HooplaHa's Intern Blake Rozelle. To see more videos just like these, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.

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