In the Spring of 2019 when High School Graduation was set for twin brothers with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia & Autism, they were wondering (along with their mother) "What's next?" With a long waiting list for one-on-one job service coaches, we were exploring options to fill our time. What could we do to incorporate things they like (such as animals, shopping, colors, counting, sorting, snacks, music, and being able to pace as much as they want without needing "to be quiet") Could we find a task that could help others as well? And could it be fun? Please??
Sewing came to mind. It checked all the boxes and more. Another athlete started helping as well...their cousin Brianna =) Now there would be Two Seamstress Moms (sisters) that could instruct & assist hand-over-hand with their athletes, along with doing the bulk of the sewing (especially when it needed to be done quickly.)
We all learned new skills...some with the computer (the Moms), and some with the sewing (the athletes). 100% of the profits go directly to the athletes, and we've been able to buy team uniforms and awesome team gear. They get to buy their own treats & trinkets with money They've Earned. What a great feeling that is!
So having started this adventure in July 2019, we've grown and made lots of new friends along the way. We found many places and causes to donate bandanas. Then Covid happened and we switched to mass-mask-production for many months, helping fulfill donations for PPE to our local hospital, medical staff we'd encounter that were ordering pet bandanas (and could include the masks free with their orders), veterinary hospital staffs, school employees & bus drivers delivering lunches to students at home, Meals on Wheels drivers, nursing homes & group homes, and even a village in Tanzania Africa! Our local post office keeps a basket we made, behind the counter, and gives individually-wrapped masks in sandwich baggies to customers that don't have one. Just another one of the many related tasks our athletes do, and a win-win to give back to others. The need continues, and we gladly still donate masks. Let us know if you know of a situation.
A bit about the MountainMen...Colton loves his magnetic nametag that mysteriously appears on his shirt every day. He's obviously quite proud of it because he moves it to whatever he's wearing...coat, jacket, shirt, whatever. Having an online shop has been a great fit because these amazing athletes are such visual learners. Being able to Read the orders allows them to process more clearly the task at hand. Plus they get to ship all over the United States, which they LOVE. They look up your towns they haven't heard of, as well as unknown breeds of dogs. They received a huge wall map for Christmas 2019, and put a pin in it everytime we get an order. (The only states they have left to pin, as of 2021 are...Mississippi, North & South Dakotas, and Hawaii).
We've learned so much along the way, myself included! We maintain a same-day turnaround time, or next-business-day depending on what time of day the order comes in, or if we have medical appointments in town. Our specialty is Montana-themed landscapes and wildlife since there's so much beauty here to share. We're blessed to glance up from the sewing machine to see Swan River right here in the backyard. Our direct view is the mountains of the Jewel Basin, and we're 30'ish miles from Glacier National Park.
Frequenting our yard are deer all day & night, black and grizzly bears on occasion, mountain lion in safe distances, feisty little squirrels, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and all manner of ground critters. Bald eagles and osprey soar over the river in the back yard, where the Canada Geese and numerous ducks frolic. The crisp winters bring out a plethora of animals much easier to spot when there's snow. We keep the binoculars handy!
We hope to hear from you, find out where you're from, along with your pet's name and what they look like, so the athletes can write their personal note that accompanies every order. Thank you for shopping our little "store." There are genuine smiles and real people behind every stitch here. Life Really Is Good.
~~Holly and Kathy
(with the MountainMen & Ma'am!)...Curt, Colton, and Brianna =) =) =)