Success Story: Faith G., Cecil Co. Maryland
As a teenager, looking like your peers is an important part of life, but for those who live with a chronic disability, the compliments on their fashion statements can take on an even greater importance. Many young people who have a disability, spend years (or perhaps a lifetime) trying to find adaptive clothing and a way to pay for it in order to maintain their independence and acceptance.
This was the case for Faith G., a thirteen-year-old from Cecil County, Maryland. Although Faith wanted to wear the same designer clothing as her peers to gain acceptance and receive compliments from them, she found it difficult to find and afford comparable clothing that she could wear. Faith’s mom, Karen, shared, “The struggle to get clothing that is not adaptive on and off was a major activity that was frustrating and, most of the time, impossible for Faith to complete independently.”
Although funding for such clothing is usually another obstacle, Faith was fortunate to be involved with the Low Intensity Support Services (LISS) cash assistance program through the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration, administered through United Needs & Abilities, Inc. (UNA). However, the LISS program is run by random selection, so there was no guarantee that she would receive funding. Additionally, the lack of vendors for adaptive clothing in youthful styles and affordable prices proved to be a challenge.
After a lot of research, Faith and her mother connected with Mindy Scheier, a fashion designer. Mindy herself has a son with a disability who longed to maintain his independence at school while sporting the latest designer jeans and shirts. Mindy founded Runway of Dreams, a non-profit organization focused on increasing the availability of adaptive fashion for young people.
Due to their eye for style and skills for advocacy, Runway of Dreams and Tommy Hilfiger have partnered to make it possible for those with the same desire for adaptive clothing to secure and wear a label of style and fashion. The clothing features magnetic closures, touch-fasteners, faux plackets and convertible details that make it easier to put on without looking any different than mainstream clothing.UNA salutes Faith and her determination to make adaptive fashion for young people a reality!
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