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Extraordinary Ventures is a North Carolina-based nonprofit that provides employment and social opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. Recently, the Autism Science Foundation ordered holiday oatmeal jars from EV that helped to employ 4 adults with autism over a span of 14 days. We invited Van Hatchell, Director of Marketing and Communications at Extraordinary Ventures, to write a guest post about the important services Extraordinary Ventures contributes to the ASD community.

Ewan, an adult with autism, is an employee at EV Gifts

Ewan, 23, graduated from Chapel Hill High School and immediately faced the daunting task of finding employment in our country’s tough job market. Like all recent grads, Ewan was forced to deal with the uncertainty of employment. But Ewan is no ordinary high school grad. Ewan has Autism.

For 17 year, Ewan benefited from the structure of the special education classrooms of Chapel Hill City School.  Once he graduated, his family realized there was nothing else Ewan was entitled to. He would face the job search like his peers – while bearing the extra burden of his developmental disability.

Ewan volunteered at the University Library, making copies and completing small tasks. His family hoped the library would see the value that Ewan added to their daily work environment and agree to hire him. Months passed with no success.

Then he heard of Extraordinary Ventures, a nonprofit that was exclusively interviewing adults with developmental disabilities. Ewan was hired.

In response to the increasing population of autistic adults, a group of parents in Chapel Hill took charge by taking a non-traditional approach. They set out to start an organization that would start small businesses to employ adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Extraordinary Ventures was born.

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