SOUTHPORT, Ind.-- This summer we took you inside of The Hope Gallery in Bargersville Indiana, where they employ young adults living with disabilities.
Southport Elementary teachers took notice and decided to collaborate with the store for the new teaching approach called Project Based Learning.
Third-grade teacher Brittany Tinker describes this as going beyond teaching kids the basics like math and how to read.
"It's providing real-world opportunities for students," Tinker said.
Students talked with employees from The Hope Gallery, asked questions about autism, made pamphlets on what autism is, and learned how to communicate with someone with a disability.
Data shows it is difficult for those living with autism to find a job after high school, third graders like Benjemin Thang realize that The Hope Gallery is helping those young adults.
“They hire people with disabilities but others don’t,” Thang said.
The students took it a step further, drew some designs, and became what they call “producers.”
Perry Meridian and Southport High School students helped their designs come to life.
The work began as the kids made earrings, beaded spiders, dog bandanas and even dog bowls.
When asked who they were making these items for, third-grader Alexa Martin said, "We are making products for The Hope Gallery."
Martin believed that her products along with her classmates will drive more business to the store, “so that people will go there more because they would understand them more, if we teach the community about autism."
While students worked on their products third-grade teacher Britni Purdue was astounded by the compassion of her students through this project.
"It's so amazing to see 9-year-olds love each other, and be respectful to each other, and be respectful to people different than them," Purdue said.
While students produced their masterpieces, The Hope Gallery employee Emery Himes sat in to see them work.
"I’m here to watch them be creative and give back," Emery Himes said.
Emery Himes' mother also stopped by and said as adults we can all learn from these students, even if you make a simple gesture.
"Share a smile, treat everyone like you want to be treated,” Barbara Himes said. “I mean, they have it all figured out, we just have to take lessons from them.”
A new way to educate, learning about how to be a producer of goods, but more importantly better understand one another.
"Just because they look different, doesn't mean they're different from everybody else," said Martin.
The students plan to take a trip to The Hope Gallery in October to present their work to be sold in the store.
The Hope Gallery is located at:
74 N Main Street
If you'd like to help these incredible kids be featured on The Ellen Show for there hard work, click here.
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