Jaden Ford has a bright future ahead of him and he wants the same for his classmates.
The 18-year-old senior is part of Braintree High’s "Project Prove", a program for students with special needs.
“The thing about Jaden is that he is a really caring individual, he has a heart of gold…He really cares about his friends,” Project Prove Coordinator Kim Lourenco said.
Jaden started a business to provide jobs for young people with intellectual disabilities, called "ACTabilities".
ACT stands for “acceptance, consideration, tolerance,” Jaden said.
In Actabilities, special needs students make products to sell.
“We started making soaps, we made ornaments, t-shirts, sweat-shirts,” Jaden said.
All the profits go to paying the kids a fair wage. Jaden and his classmates said they should never be treated differently.
“No disrespecting them, no making fun of them, you need to be treated the way you want to be treated. I always say that, treat them the way you want to be treated,” Jaden said.
“If a kid ever picks on you saying you are dumb, just don’t believe it, walk away,” Jaden’s classmate Miguel Reyes said.
Classmates love being part of the program, and love being friends with Jaden.
“I like working with Jaden and I like helping Jaden with his business,” another classmate Patrick Hunt said.
“He’s a nice boy. He’s so, so funny,” classmate Elise Zarrella said.
“He’s a good student, a good pal and a great friend,” Reyes said.
Jaden said the most important message when it comes to people with learning disabilities is…
“Treat them equally, treat then fairly, don’t look down on them. We make take a little time to learn something, but we still learn it,” he said.
If you want to learn more about Jaden, ACTabilities, or buy products made by friends with special needs, head to the website ACTabilities.com