I want to use this blog not only to educate others on the science behind Autism Spectrum Disorder but to also advocate for autism awareness. Recent studies have shown that 90% of autistic individuals are underemployed or unemployed. Luv Michael is a non-profit organization that focuses on the significant employment of autistic adults. Autistic individuals at Luv Michael are known as ”Granologists” as they produce organic, locally sourced, nut-free granola. Their first Manhattan facility is a 3000 square-foot space located in Tribeca. All proceeds from the purchased granola go to the job training of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Luv Michael was founded by Dr. Lisa Liberatore and Dr. Dimitri Kessaris, the parents of Michael Kessaris, in 2015. Michael is a young adult on the Autism Spectrum. Unfortunately, people with ASD have a hard time finding jobs. Even though he developed strong interests in the culinary field, Michael would have a hard time finding a career in this speciality. Luv Michael was created and has been able to assist countless autistic adults just like Michael. Judith Newman wrote an article for National Geographic about her son Gus, a former Luv Michael employee. She writes, ”As Gus ages into adulthood, the list of his challenges that worry me grows longer…But the two questions that keep me up at night are: Will he find love, and will he find work that means something to him and allows him to at least partially support himself?” Newman owed the response to her questions to Luv Michael, an organization that has had such a beneficial influence on autistic young adults.
Last school year, I had the wonderful opportunity to virtually volunteer for Luv Michael. Through posting on social media, learning more about the organization, and educating others, I was able to donate way more than my goal of $600; I raised $1,152.
To purchase a bag of hand-mixed granola: