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Your Dollars @ Work: Candy Machines Bring Employment to the Community!

This Your Dollars @ Work post higlights the success of a 2012 Autism Speaks Chapter Grant that supported the expansion of a new service line of called Bubble2Work, which provides employment opportunities and promotes independence for young adults with autism! is a successful program of Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago that improves the lives and futures of individuals with autism by providing vocational training and meaningful employment opportunities. 

A 2012 Autism Speaks Chapter Grant of $5,000 supported the expansion of a new service line of called Bubble2Work. Bubble2Work places candy dispensing machines in community businesses. Each gumball machine is placed in the community by a team of individuals with autism. The team refills machines, collect the earnings, maintains machines, inventory and sales records and learn the basics of running their own business!

Each gumball purchased helps sustain this microenterprise, funds vocational services at the Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago, and helps our team of individuals with autism live an independent life. Bubble2Work also works to spread autism awareness including the importance and benefit of meaningful employment opportunities in the community for adults with autism. 

The funds from Autism Speaks helped Bubble2Work garner new customers, increase the number of employees by 10%, expand awareness through electronic communication and marketing and provide consulting services!

The testimonials below show what a wonderful impact working for Bubble2Work has had on its employees!

Ronnie:  "Bubble2Work helped me to learn to act appropriately in public. I enjoy going out in the community.  I mostly learned everyone is different, to use social skills and to meet new people." 

Colin:  "I like going to different places in the community and meeting new people.  I also like the supplying people with gumballs and candy and filling the machines." 

Dylan:  "I like putting candy machines in the community. I went to Senator Hastings office and learned how to talk to him.  I love to learn how to be helpful and work hard. I learn job skills and socializing from Bubble2Work.  It is my favorite job because I love working and learning new things!"

Kelly Anne, Easter Seals employee:  "Working with individuals with autism is my passion.  It’s exciting to have the opportunity for HarrysButtons at Easter Seals to partner with Autism Speaks on a project like Bubble2Work.  Integrating community based opportunities into HarrysButtons at Easter Seals has significantly enhanced our micro-enterprise and has helped foster independence, social and vocational skills." 

Learn more about Bubble2Work and all of the great work of its employees here!

Your Dollars @ Work is a blog series highlighting the important work of past recipients of Autism Speaks grants to give you a glimpse into how your donations are changing lives of so many in the autism community! Check out previous entries here.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.