An athlete all her life, Sarah Burch thought about adding coaching to her teaching plans. Instead, she called an audible that not only sparked an interest in working with those with disabilities, but eventually a special clothing business to help them.
Burch started working with individuals with special needs when she volunteered at Special Olympics while attending UW-La Crosse, where she graduated in recreation therapy in 2010.
“Special Olympics in La Crosse is so much more than sports,” she explains. “They offer community outings, cooking club, craft club, drama club, summer camp and so much more. This not only helped me fall in love with working with individuals with different abilities, but it also showed me that they deserve programs to explore any interest they might have.”
As a special education middle school teacher in Omaha, Nebraska, for eight years, Burch saw a lot of growth, development and maturity as students entered and exited her classroom. When students moved onto high school, she saw them think about their future.
Burch had conversations with parents about what was possible for their child’s future. That led her to create Enrich Each Other Apparel, a clothing line that provides meaningful employment opportunities and job skills training to individuals with disabilities alongside peers without disabilities.
“The clothing company was a way for those students to learn future job skills,” she explains. “Designing clothing has always been a passion of mine, and it also allowed the students to spread joy through their stunning smiles and big personalities that come through so beautifully in the pictures they post on social media.”
Currently, Enrich Each Other Apparel releases one design each November and runs a sale for one month. Employees model the clothing to share on social media and promote the clothing. When orders are in, the employees inventory, sort, fold and deliver the items.
“Not only does this business provide opportunities for the employees, but it also spreads awareness about the abilities these individuals possess,” Burch says.
She hopes to have the business become a 501c3 non-profit. Eventually, Burch wants the company to invest in its own shirt printing equipment so employees can build more job skills and be involved in printing the items they sell.
Follow the company on social media @enricheachotherappreal. The next sale will be November 2023.
Written by UW-La Crosse
Link to original story: https://www.uwlax.edu/news/posts/distinctive-dress/