CBS2’s Cindy Hsu visited Spectrum Works on Wednesday. The store sells t-shirts, sweatshirts and onesies for discount prices. It’s run by young adults with autism.
Dennis James Taylor is also a graphic designer. He wrote a book called “Bandit’s Legacy” and created a whole t-shirt collection to help educate children about dinosaurs.
“What I’m trying to get across is that these weren’t monsters. They were animals just doing what they need to do to survive,” he said.
Dennis was one of the first students with Spectrum Works, a nonprofit that provides job training and employment opportunities for high school students and young adults with autism.
“I learned how to do graphic art stuff. I learned how to work on the factory, how administration in the office works,” the store’s Dominick Romano said.
Ann Marie Sullivan is the establishment’s founder.
“What happens is that when they’re 21 and they leave the school programs there is really a drop off and they’re not having that opportunity to work inside of companies, real companies,” Sullivan said.
So Spectrum Works partners with companies that often provide internships and jobs for their students who come from 30 high schools in New Jersey. Together, they create a more inclusive environment.
All the proceeds from the pop-up store go back into Spectrum Works programs.
So how does Dennis feel when he sells another book or t-shirt?
“It’s a bit overwhelming, but it’s greatly overwhelming,” he said.
The pop-up store is only open until this Friday, but the nonprofit is always looking for more students and companies to work together.