“I got out of the auto parts business and started a recreational day program for people with special needs a few years ago. It gives those who have aged out of the school system something fun and interesting to do during the day. There are a lot of different activities for them to participate in, but the main thing we do at Friends of Faith is make birdhouses and yard signs and sell them at festivals, crafts fairs, or through word of mouth. We’re finishing up a big order for a school right now. Another guy and I cut the pieces (no one else is allowed in the shop), the clients do the basic painting, and the teachers, along with two or three of the clients who are able, finish up with the artwork.
“Working with people who have special needs has made me a better person. I wouldn’t be who I am without my Sunday School students and those who come here to the day program. We’re like a family. I pick at them, joke around, and kid with them like I would anyone else. I couldn’t work with a better group of people. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t start sooner.
“Society is more accepting now of people with disabilities, but there’s still a lot of stigma. I’ve seen parents move away when they see me coming with one of the special needs kids. It’s almost like they’re saying, ‘There’s something wrong with that person. I don’t want my child near them.’ People don’t need to be afraid of them. Yes, they have a disability, but they’re still very valuable human beings.”
Friends of Faith Ministry, 4210 Altruria Rd, Ste. 116