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Once Yes She Can  became incorporated at the end of November,  I focused on getting Girl Again, the resale boutique for American Girl dolls and all their clothes, furniture and accessories, open for the Christmas gift buying season. I had already acquired merchandise – both through purchases and donations and had held a few workshops with volunteers (and future employees). So I thought I was ready. Kind of.

I had hoped that we would open the boutique, located within a new family spa in Hartsdale, NY, on Small Business Saturday but the spa owners were having their own challenges as a start up. They did not have necessary permits and employees hired. While I had enough merchandise to open, I did not want to put the merchandise into the store until I had a formal agreement with the spa business, as well as insurance.

Businesses like Girl Again retail store need insurance to cover the merchandise and the store fixtures in case of loss due to fire or theft.  We need insurance to cover accidents that may happen in our tiny space.  And we should be covered in case someone has a problem with the merchandise (even though we are not the manufacturer)  We also need to cover the board of directors of Yes She Can Inc. We need to cover volunteer workers in case of accident.  Eventually when we have employees we will need to cover them with workmen’s compensation.

It’s been a challenge to explain the business concept to insurance carriers.  A few of them seem to think this is a sheltered workshop operated by a social service agency.

 A sheltered workshop is a type of employment where sub-minimum wage is paid and employees with disabilities are working in a segregated isolated setting. Employees are typically not trained and prepared to work outside of this environment.  This is a controversial practice.  Some people feel this is still an appropriate practice for people with significant disabilities that they cannot be integrated into the community.  Others believe it is archaic and should be eliminated.  Think Beyond the Label says sheltered workshops do more harm than good.   The Federal government has weighed in on this practice too.

This is the exact opposite of what I want Yes She Can ventures to be. I feel so insulted and misunderstood that what I am creating would be considered a sheltered workshop.

And now for the good news 😀

  • we have over 200 Likes on Facebook for Girl Again
  • we have held 7 workshops with volunteers with and without ASD preparing merchandise and working on social skills
  • we have dozens of dolls and outfits prepared for sale – we even have a few people ready to buy
  • we have a few commitments to mitzvah projects to collect donated American Girl dolls and all their stuff  (let me know if you would like to lead a collection drive – we need more merchandise, constantly.)

This is Monica, a young woman with ASD, only recently diagnosed. She struggled with bullying in school dealing with learning challenges and social exchanges. She has lots of potential, she just needs some experience in a comfortable setting and confidence.