Niles coffee shop donates supplies to local autism classroom

Published 3:30 pm Saturday, April 22, 2023

NILES — A local business is doing its part to help address autism needs in the community.

The coffee shop recently purchased essential equipment and supplies to be distributed to a local autism classroom at Northside Child Development Center in Niles.

“They work with the kids a lot with sensory disorders and things like that, and really are trying to let them become independent in the best way that they can in ways that are beneficial to them that aren’t the same as everyone else,” said 2nd & Main co-owner Lea Germann.

Items purchased include deep compression vests, sensory swings, noise canceling headphones, chewy toys and more. The items purchased were all listed on the classroom’s Amazon Wish List.

The equipment and supplies were purchased using money raised on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, when 2nd & Main donated 50 percent of sales and 100 percent of tips toward the cause.

“Our dream is to fill this classroom with new toys, puzzles and manipulates to better serve the students in our area who are on the spectrum,” Germann said. “These might not seem like classroom essentials to everyone, but these items and more like them will allow children who have been diagnosed with autism to thrive in the classroom setting.”

The fundraiser is just the latest example of 2nd & Main giving back to the community. Last month, the business raised $1,272 for Michiana Down Syndrome during its World Down Syndrome Day fundraiser. Going forward, Germann and fellow co-owners Dustin Jankoviak and Alishia Ransbottom plan to host at least one fundraiser or community outreach event each month. 2nd & Main’s Facebook page will provide information regarding its future community outreach endeavors when the time comes.

For Germann, whose son attended the autism classroom at Northside Child Development Center for three years, seeing people turn out to support a school that advocates and helps children with special needs means a lot.

“It’s a wonderful program in the area that was really beneficial, something that I didn’t know was available because I never would have needed to know until you need it but it’s one of the best things that I would want to do with it. It’s very exciting for me, personally… It’s something that’s so hard in your own home. You always feel like you’re alone so to see people care about the stuff that we’re going through day-to-day, it’s nice. It’s nice to have people really behind you. It’s nice to have people care about the things that let these kids be successful. 

“Our community is so lucky to have classrooms set up to allow parents of students with autism dream the same dreams with hope.”