A new online store offers gifts made by young Montreal neurodivers

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A mixture of sounds can be heard in the halls of a school in downtown Montreal.

A lathe spins as carpenters shape wooden utensils. Florists cut and break flower stems. Sewing machines buzz as tote bags take shape. In other words, business as usual.

“Everything we do here helps prepare students for the world of work,” said Josh Cunningham, deputy director of the Transitional Education Career Center (TECC), a branch of The Summit School.

TECC’s goal is to help its over 100 neurodiverse students, aged 16 to 21, move from the classroom to the world of work.

Except that Monday was a special day: the school has just launched a new online store, featuring the products handmade by the students.

Items for sale range from handmade leather journals and colorful marmalade and granola cards.

Let’s go6:37Summit School Craft Market

Summit School deputy principal Josh Cunningham explains to Sabrina how to build an e-commerce website exclusively for neurodiverse craftspeople and entrepreneurs. 6:37

Cunningham said he hopes the online store will help people see that his students are valuable members and contributors to the community.

“I think the student work will speak for itself,” he said.

All profits from sales will be donated to school programming, helping to fund activities, outings and new tools. Three dollars will get you a keychain and $ 60 will get you a seasonal bouquet.

Zachary Kruse, a student at the Transitional Education Career Center, says her favorite part of working in the flower arrangement program is the scent of the flowers. (SRC)

“The outcome of the market is really important to these students, as the ability and ability to welcome new students is determined by funding,” said Catherine Blair-Timothy, Creative Director at Lightspeed, the company that built the back-end. from their online store for free.

The site was designed to be as accessible and easy to use as possible, both for manufacturers and buyers, she explained. Readable fonts, high contrast colors, and large clickable elements were all essential.

When the new site went live on Monday, sophomore Zachary Kruse was busy working in the flower arrangement room. Of all the trades he tried in school, this is his favorite.

“I love all the flowers and everything because they all smell so good,” he said.

The Transitional Education Career Center has just launched a new online store featuring products handmade by students. (SRC)

Plus, Kruse said, he continues to learn a lot on the job.

“I didn’t know that every flower has a certain meaning like the rose signifies love.”

While selling gifts online is a new chapter for students and staff, this isn’t the first time their designs have been released.

They’ve run lots of pop-up shops and artisan shows over the years, so the online store will only add to the skills these students are developing.

Cunningham said he anticipates an influx of vacation buyers on the new platform.

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