SJCPD officer, Michiana woman teaming up to create bracelets and raise autism awareness
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- What started as a St. Joseph County police officer responding to calls at a young Michiana woman’s home is now growing into a partnership.
Officer Emily Eades and Chennedy Walter are teaming up to sell bracelets across the area.
“I like to make bracelets,” said Chennedy. “I get the string. I put the beads.”
The 22-year-old is autistic and believes the colorful bracelets help tell the world her story.
“The bracelets are a positive way for her to get through the day,” said Lori Walter, Chennedy’s mom.
Chennedy and her mom recently moved back to the area but lost access to the therapies that helped her. They re-applied for vocational rehabilitation and behavioral management therapies, but it’s a months-long process.
“Without the services we have some very life or death challenging behaviors,” said Lori.
Starting in August, St. Joseph County Police, including Eades, were called to the Walter’s house a few times.
“I went to a typical call,” said Eades.
During one of those visits in November, Eades learned Chennedy made bracelets.
“She wanted to buy 10 bracelets from me and I said, ‘Sure,’” said Chennedy.
The two then decided to team up.
“Gave her $20 for it and I had asked her, how she would’ve felt if I took a bag with me and sold them around town,” said Eades. “She agreed to it.”
They’ve sold about 100 bracelets so far for $1 each.
“These bracelets are for her so that she can have a sense of self worth and know that hard work, it goes a long way,” said Eades.
All of the money goes back to Chennedy to help her pay for her own things.
“I can save up for a bike and I need food for my groceries,” said Chennedy.
And as people wear the accesory, they hope it spreads a message of awareness.
A recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services says there’s an acute need for job, behavioral, housing, and other wrap around services for autistic adults.
“Without them it’s almost impossible,” said Lori.
But with those services, or just a purpose, anything becomes possible.
“It has changed Chennedy from being hopeless to something to live for,” said Lori.
“I think with Chennedy, it helps teach her patience and like the value of a dollar and the value of the things that she makes and does,” said Eades.
To buy a bracelet, click here.