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Aspire Accessories
More than half of young adults with Autism have never had a paying job and are currently unemployed. Since 2016, Aspire Accessories, a non-profit in Houston, TX, has been working to change that. For Denise Hazen, Founder and CEO, the non-profit's mission is personal. After her son Nick was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, she was told by the doctor that Nick would never drive a car, never go to college, and never have a paying job. Denise set out to prove him wrong. She started Aspire Accessories, an organization that employs artisans with Autism and neurological differences who earn competitive wages while learning transferable job skills. They provide a solution to what is known as the "services cliff" for this population of individuals once they age out of the supported school-based environments. The artisans handcraft personalized glassware, engraved leather items, jewelry, and other gifts for the home. The artisans now have a purpose, a community of friends, and hope for the future.