Downtown antique and crafts store offers employment opportunity for disabled

Like many eclectic businesses in Bordentown City, Gail Force Winds is a new, intimate shop that offers a variety of handmade goods.

The business, which is located on Farnsworth Avenue, is more than a shop that sells crafts and goods among the many items.

Betsy Yard opened the shop with a determined mission

Yard named the location in memory of her friend, Gail Walsh, who was tragically killed in a car accident six years ago.

In an effort to help support Walsh’s two sons, both of whom endure disabilities, Yard, the mother of a son with multiple disabilities as well, stepped up to ensure that both their children would be able to lead successful lives.

With the shop now up and running for a full year under Yard’s non-profit organization, “Yard Work” and More, Inc., the location’s mission serves as an outreach for the organization. The mission is to provide inclusive employment training opportunities and support small business models in the community for people living with disabilities.

“We’re teaching the community that people with disabilities can be a meaningful part of it,” said Yard. “If you empower people and give them opportunities, you’ll see that there’s a lot that people with disabilities can do.”

In allowing disabled people to learn critical social and employment skills to successfully enter the community workforce, a person with a physical or mental handicap can craft and design items to sell at the shop or become employed there to help with daily operations.

Proceeds from the shop go back into Yard’s non-profit organization in an effort to not only support her volunteer employees, but to those with disabilities who live in surrounding communities.

“There are families out there with young adult [disabled] children who are aging out of the educational system and have nowhere to go but to stay home,” said Yard. “There isn’t enough job training or employment opportunities for those living with disabilities. This kind of business model gets them out into workforce and gives them something to do that contributes to our society.”

Offering a varied selection of assorted crafts and goods, the store sells items such as jewelry, candles, handbags, potpourri and much more, most of which are made by volunteer disabled persons.

Along with a selection of beaded jewelry inside the shop crafted by Yard’s son, Jon, who was diagnosed with Kabuki syndrome.

He developed an interest in the leisure activity at an early age, which helped spark the initiative, not only for “Yard” Work and More, Inc., but for the Gail Force Winds business as well.

As Yard continues to expand her efforts and outreach among surrounding communities and counties, she aspires for the shop’s business model to serve as a symbol and message to other business owners.

“It shows that businesses need [to be willing] to hire more people with disabilities,” said Yard. “They need to give people a chance. It’s great to provide people with an opportunity to work – something that they can utilize to grow their lives.”

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