Student-run business raising money, awareness ahead of Autism Awareness Month

At INSITEful Designs, a little bit of thread and beads go a long way.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 8:36 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2022 at 11:12 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - At INSITEful Designs, a little bit of thread and beads go a long way.

Ahead of Autism Awareness Month in April, the student-run business is selling lanyards and keychains as part of its Autism Awareness Project.

“So the whole story with the lanyards and keychains is we’re actually using them for pop-up sales,” said student Brenden Town.

“We sold them at different schools,” added student Harper Burk-Rummans.

Work and Transition Coordinator Heather Sellner said 20 percent of profits will go to the Autism Society of Minnesota.

“We talked about not only making keychains, but also how can we make this into a service learning project. So what can we do with the profits? Some of the profits they decided could go to the Autism Society of Minnesota, because all of the funds, all the donations that we would give stay in Minnesota,” she said.

But the project doesn’t just make a difference in the community.

INSITEful Designs is based out of Mankato Area Public Schools’ INSITE program, a post-high school program that helps students with disabilities build transitional skills.

Sellner said INSITEful Designs particularly helps students learn how to run and manage a business.

“One of the biggest skills that I think the students have gotten from this are the customer service skills. We have been doing pop-up sales in March and going to different school buildings. Students get to actually meet their customers and sell to customers,” she said.

Sellner said this project has seen a lot of success.

“We’ve been very lucky to have the great support from our school district with all the pop-up sales. Teachers, staff, administration have all supported us and have contributed to our students’ success,” she said.

INSITEful Designs is about 60 percent of the way to their $150 goal.

Anyone wanting to buy a lanyard or keychain can do so until April 8.

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