Jewelry store features special needs employees

Some people with special needs are getting a chance to be part of the work force thanks to a jewelry store in Rockland County.

ARC of Rockland has taken over Strawtown Jewelry on South Main Street in New City and people with disabilities will now be working behind the counter, ringing up customers, answering phones, and someday, even making the jewelry.

ARC officials say they are hoping to lead by example in showing that people with disabilities are excellent employees. "We always strive to tell other businesses to give them opportunities to work cause they're just like everybody else and they need a job," says Store Manager Jessica Lowther.

Something as simple as a job offer for Rochelle Braunstein, was a dream come true. Braunstein knows all too well what it's like to be treated differently. "They would call me retarded and that would feel like pretty bad because you don't want to be called that you know, it's a shame." Now, she's just excited to be treated, equally. "Well it means a lot, because I like jewelry and I like wearing it," says Braunstein.

ARC is now hoping for a chain reaction in so far as they can get other stores up and running like this in the future. ARC of Rockland provides supports and services to more than 1,200 people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

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