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A loving dad started a business to help his son with autism and empower others like him.

"I never expected how important what we were doing was — beyond us."

A loving dad started a business to help his son with autism and empower others like him.
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Here's a pretty jarring stat: Up to 90% of adults with autism are either unemployed or underemployed.

Being on the autism spectrum shouldn’t equate to being unemployable, and certainly individuals like actor Mickey Rowe and professor, best-selling author, and livestock consultant Temple Grandin have spoken about successfully finding a place in the career world. But this inclusivity takes a lot of educating of others about the unique way their brains work. What if we created a more supportive environment in which individuals with autism could thrive?

Luckily, one loving father discovered a simple idea to address this issue and empower not only his son, but other adults with autism. And it's pretty awesome.


When you pull into Rising Tide Car Wash, you might notice two things: Most of the employees have autism, and they are busier than ever. A Starbucks original series.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, September 19, 2016

John D'Eri has always wanted what's best for his son, Andrew.

He didn't start out with a full understanding of the intricacies of Andrew's autism, though. Initially, he found the disorder confusing and even hoped Andrew would eventually outgrow it or that someone would find a miracle cure.

Then, as Andrew got older, John had an eye-opening revelation.

"I started to realize that Andrew is who Andrew is. And I started to look at Andrew not as a 15-year-old. I looked at him as a 40-year-old. And that really started to change my whole thought pattern. He's not gonna be independent unless I can help him to be so."

Naturally, the next question on John's mind was, "Well, what can Andrew do?"

All images via Starbucks.

Inspiration struck John one fine day at a car wash.

After brainstorming a few business ideas, John found himself intrigued by the busy back-and-forth going on as he waited for his car to get cleaned at a car wash.

All of a sudden, John had a lightbulb moment. He remembers thinking, "Andrew can do this back-end process, without a doubt."

Soon after, the plan for Rising Tide Car Wash was put in motion.

With the help of his other son, Tom, John made the dream a reality and formed a team of passionate individuals who wanted to be a part of something special.

Today, business is booming  — because the employees are thriving.

Rising Tide places great importance on maximizing the potential of each and every person on their staff. No doubt the move has paid off in spades.

"What I like about Rising Tide is that they help me [with] how to stay professional, how to talk to customers. I have friends here now that care about me, that care about reaching my goals," said employee Sean Gervil. "Actions speak louder than words. You let your actions show that you want the job. I was just surprised. I can't believe I have a job now at Rising Tide."

Rising Tide is now averaging 17,000 cars a month and is on its way to opening a second location. Talk about a success!

This is the kind of forward thinking that can make a real difference in the community.

John said, "I never expected how important what we were doing was — beyond us."

When we recognize what others are capable of and do what we can to bring out the very best in them, truly amazing things can happen. Here's to more Rising Tide locations and more game-changing ideas!

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.