A Different Kind of Back to School Night….

A Different Kind of Back to School Night….

For me it felt like back-to-school night last Wednesday evening, but for the ScentsAbility crew a visit from Nicole Hick’s Broward College Transition to Post Secondary Education class turned into a rewarding sort of mutual admiration society, with huge benefits for all involved.

The evening began in the front showroom as Bonnie shared background on how the shop came to be nearly 6 years ago, filling a need for her daughter Jessica and others who were rather lost after they aged out of the Public School system.

Bonnie and Broward College visitors, Carolina, Lady, Prof. Hicks and Gabriella, chat in the workroom.

Soon Bonnie brought the class into the shop to meet our anxiously waiting chandlers. She introduced them one by one, briefly discussing their diagnoses, and asked them to share what ScentsAbility has meant to them.

I never tire of hearing them respond to this query.  Lexy went first and with the biggest grin imaginable responded, “It’s my job!!”  And she proceeded to detail her infatuation with Justin Bieber.

Jessica introduced herself in her demure way, welcoming everyone to her shoppe, soon pointing to Michael, proudly stating that he was her ‘Honey,”    By now the BC class members were beginning to gather closer, their faces full of affectionate smiles.

Michael chats with Marina in the front showroom.

Khari was next.  Never a man of few words, he explained how his businessman father taught him all about selling.  He reminded us that when people tell you that you can not do something, you just do it anyway.

Shaun was then introduced as the newest member of the crew. Having been doing very little for several years, he radiates pride and happiness discussing his newfound purpose.

And then came Michael, pretty much the spokesperson of ScentsAbility.  He warned us all not to overdo it with exercise or sports, and he should know;  he is a proud medalist in soccer for Special Olympics.  He tearfully said he’d be lost without Bonnie, John and the shoppe.

These boys share a further bond as they work together at Sees Elevator Company, largely due to the job skills acquired at the candle shoppe.

Tash was next, our only chandler living in a group home.  Her reward for good behavior is her job at the shoppe.  Her success is a tribute to the ScentsAbility’s purpose;  she even sleeps in her work t-shirt to remind herself stay on task at her home.

Kim, a Chicago Cubs fanatic, chats with Anthony from Broward College about Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs.

Finally, Kim beamed proudly, sharing that she is lid manager, customer service manager, loves our hand sanitizer and also works at Publix.   This from a girl who was too shy to speak to me for 6 weeks after I met her!

The evening ended with a tour of the work area, a look at our products, lots of questions and even more importantly, interaction between the BC students and our chandlers.  Talk turned to family, goals, sports, trips, just about anything.  The distinctions between teacher, BC students and our crew blurred as the evening drew to a close and literally every visitor lined up with arms full of products to purchase.

Carolina checks out her selection of candles with the help of Bonnie at the register and Kim bagging.

The checkout line was long, but nobody cared, for it allowed more time to get to know each other, take pics, share even more hugs, and exchange promises to see each other again soon.

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