Special Needs Spotlight On: The Alex and Ali Foundation

The Alex and Ali Foundation website fittingly says in bold letters, Working Toward a Brighter Future — which is exactly what they are doing. The foundation serves the communities of Bargersville, Indianapolis and Newburgh with a mission to empower and enhance the lives of adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, by providing opportunities for job skill development, vocational activities and meaningful community involvement. 

“The Alex and Ali Foundation changes lives,” says Sadie Stokes, manager of the Bargersville location. “All of our team members have changed drastically by having access to safe and supportive socialization, work experience, and community involvement.”

The Heart Behind the Foundation

The Alex and Ali Foundation started when Alex’s mother noticed that as her son was nearing the end of high school, there were fewer resources for him to have access to an accommodating job and few companies willing to hire someone with a disability. “The namesakes, Alex and Ali, have been best friends since childhood and both have autism,” Stokes says. “The Foundation was created to provide purpose and meaning to adults with developmental disabilities. These individuals are worthy and capable — they just need to be given the opportunity to show the world that.”

To make this happen, the Foundation started its first vocational training site, The Hope Gallery, in 2018 in Bargersville, as a retail boutique to teach customer service, cashiering and art forms. In 2022, it was transformed into a “sweets and treats boutique,” serving ice cream, candy and handmade art made by team members and other artisans with disabilities. 

In 2020, the foundation opened the second vocational training site, Happy Hounds Doggy Daycare on the southside of Indy. At this site, team members help care for dogs, take them on walks, play with them, and provide them with lots of love and attention. 

In 2022, a second Hope Gallery location was opened, this time in Newburgh. The Hope Gallery Newburgh provides vocational training for 75 team members and partners with 50 disabled artisans across the U.S., Canada and Israel to sell their items in the stores. 

How to Get Involved

“We can always use more volunteers at any of our locations to assist team members with general day-to-day tasks,”  Stokes says. “If someone has a skill they want to share and teach our team members (one or multiple sessions), we would love that. If someone would rather build or repair something for us, we always need handy helpers. Additionally, people can get involved by donating, visiting our stores and sharing our mission with others.” 

To learn more about the Alex and Ali Foundation, visit their website at TheAlexAndAliFoundation.com.

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