GROVE CITY, Ohio — For Jacquie Mahan, a pile of T-shirts is not just clothing — it’s “the currency of connection” between her mission as founder of The Awesome Company and someone's home.
The Awesome Company was created to empower and employ adults with autism. As the mother of a child on the spectrum, Mahan saw firsthand the lack of opportunities her child had as they became an adult. The purpose is employment — the means are T-shirts.
Earning money, regardless of the amount, changes things, Mahan said. That means even a small amount of money earned by an adult with autism may open the door to going to a store alone, picking something out for themselves or contributing to their family’s needs. And the competencies that come from learning a job and doing it well are countless.
“I would say that my superpower working here is I can figure out when I meet someone on the spectrum, what they need, how we can start and where we can get them on the right path to be more independent, more confident and believe in themselves,” Mahan said.
The company currently has 12 employees and four interns working different shifts. Mahan and her business partner invite autistic artists to submit their work for inclusion in a T-shirt design.