Eating out this month? Choose Fleurie or Petit Pois! Both restaurants are donating one dollar for every meal served in the month of December to the Virginia Institute of Autism. We are hoping to raise $3,500 to build an outdoor classroom for our post-high school students and adults.
“An outdoor classroom with a greenhouse would give us the ability to grow vegetables, spices and flowers, and create high quality products that could be sold at local farmer’s markets and restaurants,” said Matthew Osborne, VIA’s Director of Adult Services.
Right now, VIA’s young adult students and VIAbility adult consumers work for businesses and organizations in the community, including Dunkin’ Donuts, the James Madison Regional Library, Bel Air Farm and Meals on Wheels. An on-site microenterprise would teach students life skills and job skills in VIA’s backyard, helping prepare them for jobs in the community and giving them an opportunity to take initiative.
“Our goal is to target and strengthen meaningful and valuable vocational skills that can be later applied to competitive employment opportunities for our students and adults,” said Osborne.
Petit Pois and Fleurie supported VIA through Charlottesville Restaurant Week in February, 2013. Brian Helleberg, owner of Petit Pois and Fleurie, says he was inspired by Restaurant Week’s impact in helping build VIA’s new adaptive playground. He hopes an outdoor classroom will make a similar difference to the VIA community.
“I don’t think there’s too many things you can do with your time more valuable than planting and nurturing, sticking your hands in the soil, and watching that growth process,” said Helleberg.