Gaither teaches students with special needs business skills
TAMPA, Fla. — Estelle Farias and her students run a highly profitable business at Gaither High School in Tampa.
Chips, cookies, delicious drinks. Even homemade pillows and aprons. They sell everything to a loyal fanbase of teachers and kids.
“We took our business and made it very, very big,” says Estelle.
Each of her colleagues, all of whom are teenage girls with intellectual disabilities, has a job to do, whether it’s sewing or accounting, selling or ordering new products.
This is the 12 Plus program, which prepares students with special needs, who have already graduated from high school, for future careers.
12 Plus also emphasizes inclusivity, as children have formed friendships with traditional Gaither students whom they interact with every day.
“The program helps them buy their future, but it also teaches them humility, that not everyone gets what they want in life,” explains Estelle.
This phenomenal educator creates smart workers and, just as importantly, great people.
The students are currently sewing and stuffing “A Little Love” bags for the homeless. Cute travel bags filled with soap, socks, toothpaste and more.
“I’m really glad I was able to help the homeless,” smiles JJ, one of the 12 Plus students.
To learn more about the 12 Plus program or to help Ms. Farias and her colleagues, click here.