Seasons For A Reason
Eden II’s Genesis Programs has launched “Seasons for a Reason,” a new social enterprise that provides meaningful job training opportunities to individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The Seasons for a Reason kiosk is located in the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, Long Island on the first floor near the food court.
Eden II’s Genesis participants will be selling high end seasonal handmade crafts from the kiosk. Associate Executive Director for Eden II’s Genesis Programs, Dr. Mary McDonald shares, “Much of the population that we serve at Eden II is severely impacted by autism, making it challenging for them to gain competitive employment. According to the United States Department of Labor, employment rates for individuals with autism continue to lag very far behind those without disabilities and we hope to change that for the individuals we serve. There are many invaluable opportunities for our participants to be actively engaged in our social enterprise: from design to production, sales to marketing.” Seasons for a Reason is the brainchild of Erin Archibald, Director of Outreach Programs, where many innovative programs are born.
Over the past two years, Ms. Archibald and Dr. McDonald have worked tirelessly to develop a social enterprise plan and put it into action. The kiosk offers a unique opportunity to spread autism awareness, and help people to understand how the programs’ participants can be active and productive members of their community.
Dr. Mary McDonald notes, “We hope that our presence in the mall will bring autism to the
forefront in the community and maybe dispel some myths that people may have about autism. We believe that people with autism have a lot to offer and they just need to be given a chance to show what they can do.”
The adult participants and students in the social enterprise will be hands on at many different levels. For example, one participant who is interested in photography can take photos of items being sold to post to our social media. We have a number of participants who love creating the handmade items, so they can be involved in that end. Other participants may focus more on business skills, like using the cash register or taking inventory.
Eden II Programs’ Executive Director, Dr. Joanne Gerenser shares, “Seasons for a Reason allows for vocational experiences in our local community, and gives our participants opportunities to gain social skills, independence, and build relationships with local potential employers.” The mall would serve as a community based learning environment for the school program, day habilitation program as well as our residence participants. It would be a job training site for individuals and may also support individuals participating in self-determination.
Seasons for a Reason has sponsor support from Autism Speaks, The Fanning Foundation The Local Union #3 Sportsmen’s Club and the Nassau/Suffolk Autism Society. These sponsors have paved the way for this dream to become a reality. The profits received at the kiosk will be used to pay kiosk rental costs. “As the kiosk develops over time, we hope for it to become an employment site for individuals with autism,” shares Dr. Mary McDonald. “We believe there are limited opportunities for p
eople with autism and feel it is important to begin creating them.”
Dr. McDonald continues, “Everyone involved has high hopes for Seasons for a Reason, because we have high hopes for our participants. It is through this initiative we can make a real difference in the life of individuals with autism and we plan to do just that. The response so far has been very positive and we expect that people will want to be a part of this exciting venture and know that they made a mark and that they were part of the reason that someone with autism can say that he/she has a job. “
The mission of Seasons for a Reason is to employ people with autism. Offering high quality crafts, and a range of promotional items, Seasons for a Reason is devoted to providing vocational training opportunities to participants with autism.