Lisa’s Quality Rags has faithfully supported Family Hope Foundation since 2016. We are grateful for Lisa’s business’s investment in Family Hope Foundation over the years. Lisa has autism, but that didn’t stop her, and it certainly didn’t stop her parents and advocates, Teunis and Phyllis. Her mom opens up about Lisa’s journey. Her story demonstrates how every individual in our community should have the opportunity to have purpose and be valued.
It’s hard to know where to start with Lisa’s story. Lisa is now 42 years old but came to us at six months. Because we assumed we had adopted a healthy child, we were surprised by her atypical behaviors and developmental delays. Lisa received a diagnosis of autism at the age of 2 ½. From here, we began a lifelong journey to keep her safe, happy, and as capable as possible.
When Lisa was in her mid-teens, we set up an individualized summer school program for her. She washed towels for the beauty shop, sorted pop cans at the grocery store, folded church bulletins, stuffed envelopes for the public school, and had a weekly newspaper route. She was productive and added value to these organizations. When Goodwill saw a video of Lisa working, they offered to train her. Lisa and her aide from school spent part of each school day at Goodwill. First, she learned to rack hangers, sort hangers, sort clothes, and hang them up. Finally, she learned how to cut clothing into rags…always with the encouragement of her aide, who said, “we can do this together.”
When Goodwill closed the rag cutting operation, they sold the rag cutters to us along with their customer list. New Life Thrift store, where Lisa previously volunteered, offered space for a cutting room and donated non-usable products to cut. Through years of volunteering and being visible in the community, the groundwork had been established for individuals willing to support her business venture. Through community collaboration, Lisa’s Quality Rags was born.
After 12 years, Lisa’s Quality rags are still thriving. Supported employment provides staff, and CLS includes home care. Lisa is nonverbal and requires 24/7 support.
Yet she can sort clothes, pack and carry boxes, cut rags, and greet customers by name, all guided by dedicated staff. The customers can see Lisa as a productive, gifted member of society. Lisa’s presence in the business world reinforces that our exceptional kids can be trained for employment, will be faithful employees, and can give back to the community. They have value and a purpose.
Advocacy never stops! Parents know their child’s needs and abilities. It takes just one kind employer to train an exceptional individual and open up a lifetime of opportunities. It also becomes a witness to the community of how capable our precious kids are. Learn more about Lisa’s business endeavors: Learn More