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Campaign Seeks to Encourage Local Employers to Hire People with Special Needs

“We are not looking for charity, we’re looking for a chance for our kids to be productive and contribute to their communities,” longtime local resident Janet Miller says. Organizations and agencies are here to help employers.

Janet Miller and Connor Barbee. Courtesy photo.
Janet Miller and Connor Barbee. Courtesy photo.
One day a week, 20-year-old Connor Barbee goes to work at Mill Valley Music, doing some filing for owner Gary Scheuenstuhl and handling the local independent music store’s overstock. 

But while the shift is brief and the work is often mundane, the relationship between Scheuenstuhl and Barbee is far deeper than employer and employee – it is actually proof positive that a person with special needs can be a valuable, diligent, hard-working employee who is not seeking a helping hand but simply a chance to counter stereotypes.

Barbee is autistic. With April being Autism Awareness Month, Barbee’s mom, longtime local resident and former Mill Valley School District board member Janet Miller, who founded the Challenger League and helped found the It Takes a Village initiative, has launched a campaign to encourage local employers to consider hiring young adults and adults with special needs – and to see the benefit in doing so. Miller is working with San Rafael-based Autistry Studios, a pre-vocational program, to spread the word about the potential benefits of hiring someone with special needs.

Click here for the full story on the Enjoy Mill Valley blog.

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