GUILFORD -- Right now, at a small flower shop in Guilford, everyone's a little stressed cause it’s Mother's Day.
The seeds for Roses for Autism were planted nine years ago, when the group ‘Ability Beyond’ reopened Guilford's Pinchbeck Farm with a smaller business, and an agenda.
According to Michelle Ouimette, "Roses for Autism is a really sweet story." In the greenhouse lies the heart of the business, but in the studio, lies the soul. Nine interns, all with autism and other disabilities.
“The goal is to teach them what we call the soft skills – how do you work as part of a team, how do you take direction from a boss.” said Ouimette,
From clipping to shipping, each intern is mentored, like Teal Patton, who this day is working with mentors in the shipping department.
Everything from floral design to internet sales is taught. In a year they will produce 40 to 50,000 roses. That’s an impressive number, but even more impressive is the number 141, the number of interns who have moved on.
“They’re out! Pursuing their lives in other jobs. They’re in restaurants, working in retail, in it, some have started their own businesses, " said Ouimette,
Will Hanks is out, he’s working at a Harley Davidson store, with his eyes on a bigger prize.
He wants to run a restaurant, a food truck. Roses are sweet, but not as sweet as the lessons he’s learned here., “Like counting my money and stuff”, he says.