Michael Stuart’s 24-year-old son, Aaron, tried to find a job in food service or hospitality, but he found it difficult because he has autism. Job placement and training organizations weren’t able to help Aaron, so Michael took matters into his own hands. Starting with a mock restaurant, Michael has since developed an organization to help even more people with autism get the training they need.
Wanting to help his son develop the skills necessary to live his own life, Michael made a big decision. He retired from his teaching position and turned his home’s second story into a mock restaurant, because what better way to train Aaron than to put him in the same situations he can expect to encounter?
In this mock restaurant, Aaron learns basic restaurant and hospitality skills, and he trains for six hours a day. As Michael trained his only his son, he launched Operation Meaningful Life. According to The Mighty, Operation Meaningful Life is a training program that focuses solely on developing skills and helping people reach their potentials.
In an interview with Fox News, Michael emphasized his belief in investing in adults who are physically and intellectually disabled. The benefits of providing educational programs for these adults are obvious—instead of relying on adult care programs and support from the government, they’re able to work and support themselves. Training programs like Operation Meaningful Life help adults with autism become productive members of society, giving those adults a purpose in life.