Jewelry Store Fulfills Dreams For Special Needs Employees
Since getting ownership of Strawtown Jewelry on South Main Street in New City, ARC of Rockland has been opening the doors for people with disabilities to fill various positions. They can work behind the counter, ring up customers, answer phones, and someday, even make the jewelry.
ARC officials say they are hoping to lead by example in showing that people with disabilities are excellent employees. “We always strive to tell other businesses to give them opportunities to work cause they're just like everybody else and they need a job and this is us leading by example,” says store manager Jessica Lowther.
For Rochelle Braunstein, one of many new employees, a simple job offer was a dream come true. Braunstein knows all too well what it's like to be treated differently. “They would call me retarded and that would feel like pretty bad because you don't want to be called that you know, it's a shame.” Now, she's excited to be treated equally and explore the many opportunities her new role has to offer. “Well it means a lot, because I like jewelry and I like wearing it,” says Braunstein.
ARC of Rockland provides support and services to more than 1,200 people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. They hope to start a chain reaction in getting other stores open and running like Strawtown Jewelry in the near future.
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