Crafted, by Itasca Life Options

Crafted by Itasca Life Options has been open for just over a year at the Central Square Mall.  Originally operated for more than 30 years at the Itasca Family YMCA, we revamped the small program and moved to the mall due to a desire to provide new opportunities and the need for more space for individuals.  This location consists of a studio where individuals can work on art and craft projects and a retail store to sell crafts and firestarters.  Participants make a commission on all items sold, which allows for individuals to supplement their income and bolster individual artistic expression and self-esteem. 
Crafted has opened up many new opportunities and partnerships.  The community has responded well and loves that their purchase goes to supporting people and programming for individuals with disabilities.  We have joined the First Friday Art Walk and have been able to showcase individual artists.  Our mall location allows our participants to be more integrated with community members.  Shoppers can visit our store and see participants in action!
In December of 2017, ILO began a partnership with the special education programs at Grand Rapids High School and Middle School. Students from each program come to Crafted on a regular basis to complete art projects; this is an opportunity for our participants to be positive role models and engage with community youth. This year, our partnership has expanded and we are looking to take trips with participants to schools in the Itasca Area Schools Collaborative.