Seaside Bagels giving autistic students job experience through Spectrumship Program

Seaside Bagels giving autistic students job experience through Spectrumship Program

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The owners of Seaside Bagels in Wilmington are giving autistic students the chance to get job experience through their Autism Spectrumship Program.

Cristy Tondeur and her husband Xavier started the program one month ago in partnership with SEA Academy, a school for students with special needs.

The Tondeurs’ son has autism and attends SEA Academy, which prompted Cristy to create this program.

Seaside Bagels has two students participating in the Spectrumship Program. Interns Will Kibler and Stratton Davis work each Wednesday morning from 10:30-11:30.

Each day when they arrive, they have a task sheet to help them know what they will be doing for the day. With help from the Seaside staff and their school instructors, they spend their time preparing bagels, setting up equipment, and helping customers.

“It makes me feel like I’m important and that I actually know that I’m helping people out," Kibler said. “I know that people would feel good about what we do and know that we provide quality service.”

Will and Stratton work together to complete their daily tasks and enjoy working with the other staff.

“They’re friendly and they know that we’re doing a good job," Kibler said. "They understand us and know we can do a good job, and even know that we can do big things.”

The Tondeurs hope to expand the program in the coming months and said they would be happy to hire any of their interns in the future.

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