Sunday, July 09, 2006

Preserving memories and making lives

Okay, this is kind of cool - a company in Columbus, Ohio that will take a bunch of your old t-shirts and use them to create a quilt or wall hanging. There are a lot of great things you could do with that idea - a quilt made out of all your favourite concert tees, for example. I see quite a few people have made keepsake quilts out of team jerseys from school or university tees.

What makes this place so special I single them out for mention? Most of their employees are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and they promote a "deaf-friendly environment". The t-shirt quilt business is affiliated with Deaf Initiatives, Inc., an organization whose mission is to "provide initiatives that strengthen the potential of young adults who are deaf or hard of hearing".

While I strongly advocate full participation by the handicapped in all aspects of life, these kinds of workshops (they used to be called "sheltered workshops" back when I worked with Down's Syndrome youth) definitely have a role to play for some individuals. Not everyone gets the same degree of training, education and family support as they grow up; not everyone has the same degree or type of handicap; and for many people these kinds of workplaces are wonerful places to develop skills and self-confidence.

Very cool.



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