Artisans and staff with Chapel Haven Schleifer Center’s UARTS program have a new storefront in the Westville neighborhood to create and display their weavings, hand-marbled silk scarves, and other items.
Individuals who participate have a variety of abilities: some are on the autism spectrum, others have Down syndrome.
Rachael Warten, 28, is one of the artisans. She said it took a while to learn how to make handmade soaps, scarves, and ties.
“It was kind for me of hard to get used to the basics of like, how to go by step by step and learn the process, ‘cause it takes time. And it takes…. whatever the person says, you have to follow the directions,” she said.
Stephanie Berberich, the UARTS program manager, agrees.
“It requires a lot of focus, a lot of detail, and of course, anybody can struggle with attention to detail, but every day it just gets better,” she said.
Berberich said the program also teaches customer service skills.
“They can learn how to use the register system to make the sales, they can represent their artwork,” she said.
And Warten said Chapel Haven is teaching her larger life skills.
“Being independent and learning how to be independent,” she said. “Like learning how to adapt with opportunities, and able to be with friends. And knowing you can always have a person to guide you through.”