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The Frances Center gives independence to persons with disabilities

By: Sydney Kern

A thrift store in Baton Rouge is the first of its kind. The Frances Center for Customized Employment lets people with intellectual development disorder run their own business.

BATON ROUGE- The Frances Center For Customized Employment sells typical items one would find at a thrift shop: books, plates, furniture and clothing. But what’s not typical are the people selling them.

 

“We do supported self employment for people with intellectual and development disabilities,” Owner of Frances Center, Dr. Jo Monroe said. “Supported self employment meaning the things they can’t do to be employed, we’re they’re safety net.”

 

Dr. Monroe came up with the idea when her autistic daughter, Ally, graduated from high school and had nowhere to work. The Frances Center gave her an opportunity to fix up donated items, sell them and earn money.

 

“I think it’s awesome to run my own business, I think I get to learn a lot of new stuff here,” Ally said.

 

“We have a lot of places that say we teach life skills to these folks but if those skills are in a fake environment, they do not transfer to the real world. So here it’s still not quite real world, but they’re at least in a more changing environment,” Dr. Monroe said.

 

Items in the store come from donations. The workers get to decide which ones they want to price and put in their designated area. If they sell an item that they priced they get to keep the money, which is bringing the Frances Center goal to reality; creating a path to independence for persons with disabilities.

 

 

Check out Ally’s hand-made work!

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