Nearly 350 autistic students are enrolled in the Syracuse City School District. Public school is not always able to satisfy every developmentally disabled student’s special needs. But one local organization builds on personal experience to fill the void with art.
Sanchia Inc. offers artistic programs for people of all ages with any type of disability. The goal is to defy and change the current stigma that centers around all developmentally disabled people. Since founder Samantha Pierce and two of her five children are on the autism spectrum, she says she faces the false narrative on a daily basis.
“The message is driven by a narrative that is all about what people can’t do. Let’s celebrate what people can do,” Pierce said.
Sanchia began when Pierce’s sister suddenly died two years ago. The organization is named after her, and continues her legacy as a mental health counselor.
“The logo is pouring out all of the love she poured out to my life,” Pierce said.
In the future, Pierce hopes to spread Sanchia further across the city, and have a greater influence in the community.