We are thrilled to spotlight an amazing organization here in Tampa, Autism Shifts. Autism Shifts was founded by Vicky Westra as a result of the experiences she and her husband had while raising her daughter Gabrielle (Gabbi), who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of four. Vicky shares the journey that many families have had in finding the right resources, people and programs that could serve Gabbi and help her to continue to grow and develop. She felt a calling to create something different for Gabbi and others in the same situation.
After 22 years in Corporate America, Vicky left her senior leadership role and started a coffee company and a non-profit for Autism. These two organizations came together in 2011 to form Artistas Café, a first-of-its kind Café employing a team of front-line employees who have all been diagnosed with Autism.
Vicky and her team at Autism Shifts have created a proven and unique model that incorporates a very holistic approach to preparing students to successfully enter the workplace. Through our partnership with Artistas Café, we have developed an understanding of what it takes to create an environment where individuals with autism can grow and develop their skills to be successfully employed.
What makes their program different?
How Can You Get Involved?
The Autism Shifts Community is a vital part of the successful integration of the community of Autism into the work force. They encourage entrepreneurs, non-profits, schools, businesses, families and everyone else who is interested in being part of their movement at Autism Shifts to get to know them! Visit the Re-Imagine Center, join a workshop, share their events. There’s so many opportunities to help young adults with Autism live life on purpose. This means living and working independently with their dream life created not only for themselves, but within the community they live in.
Come meet Vicky at our upcoming event on August 20th, Girls Night Out at Carmel Kitchen + Wine Bar, and find out how you can get involved. You can even make a purchase at The Charity Branch boutique where 10% of the proceeds will go to Autism Shifts!
Welcome to the Tampa Housewives in the City! I am Nicole and I am excited to be the new host of the Girl’s Night Out events! I have attended the events for years and I just love big group gatherings whether I'm hosting or attending. I am a wife, mother of 2 and a small business owner-Your New Best Friend Concierge. Spa treatments, lazy days by the pool and playing loud music alone in the car -- all make me happy!