As the number of children diagnosed with autism, Asperger's Disorder, ADHD, and other special needs increases, centers that provide these children with the training they will need to develop essential life skills are more in demand than ever.
Silverlining, a new designer resale boutique in Culver City and initiative of The Help Group, serves as an innovative vocational training center for students with special needs.
“The goal is to help children learn the skills they will need to find competitive employment," said Susan Berman, Chief Operating Officer of The Help Group. "It's hard getting job experience in this difficult economy, especially for the young people that we work with who need extra guidance before being able to join the workforce."
The silverlining training program is designed to enable students to increase their level of independence and self-confidence while allowing them to develop the important life skills needed to help secure future employment. The students are also gaining valuable learning experience in the many aspects of silverlining's retail operation including procuring donations, sorting, preparing donations for sale, merchandising, marketing, customer service, inventories, and sales.
"It's fun working here because I love clothes and I love The Help Group and I love the awareness of the ability within the disability," said a Help Group student who trains at silverlining. "It makes me feel amazing, happy, excited, and motivated!"
Silverlining offers new, vintage, and gently used fashionable and designer clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children. The store has received a number of generous donations from top designers including American Rag, Ed Hardy Shoes, and Charlotte Tarantola.
An increasing amount of private donations has brought a stream of high-end labels like Prada, Gucci, and Versace to the store's racks. Silverlining proceeds are used to fund the various programs The Help Group runs for students with special needs.
"This is one of the many new initiatives being launched at The Help Group that seeks to broaden the range of opportunities for young people with special needs," continued Berman. "This venture has the added beauty of benefiting the students, those who donate to the store, and our community - a silver lining for all."
For more information on the student training center or to make a donation, contact Debby Webb, The Help Group's Senior Executive Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-779-5238. www.silverliningresale.orgwww.thehelpgroup.org