John West, a volunteer at the Augusta Training Shop, says: “Nobody wants to live without hope.”
Hope is a four-letter word that can change a person’s life.
Audrey Murell, executive director at the Augusta Training Shop, says: “The Augusta Training Shop was started in 1947. We are actually employing people with special needs of all different kinds of disabilities.”
“It takes people who might just be sitting at home or whatever and it takes them out of that and it really builds their confidence and it gives them that sense of purpose,” added West.
“We do all kinds of different work,” explained Murell. “We have about 20 different types of seat weaving that we can do.”
Shanon Brooks, a 12-year employee at the Augusta Training Shop says: “I love caning. I just cane away. One hand to cane.”
For most, it’s all about the snowflakes.
“People really like these snowflakes,” explained West.
“One of our employees, Adrian, who’s been here for over 20 years, he came up with the first prototype of the snowflake with me and now we have over 40 different snowflakes that we weave,” added Murell.
Snowflakes made here at the Augusta Training Shop are sent all over the country and what makes them even more special: a picture and the story of the artist who made them is sent with every one.
Donna Swanson, a 1-year employee at the Augusta Training Shop says: “My main job is to make the snowflakes as quick as I can and try to make more than six a day.”
“People really appreciate receiving a gift that has special meaning and handy work and you don’t even know that you’re really giving back to a non-profit,” said Murell.
“The way I Iook at the training shop is it’s a family,” added West.
“We want to promote them and love them as they are,” said Murell.
“It provides them with a sense of genuine hope and integrity and it honors their dignity and I think that’s probably one of the most important aspects of what they get at the training shop,” said West.
“I enjoy it,” said Swanson.
“I’m blessed. I’m blessed,” added Brooks.