Award-Winning Rising Tide Car Wash Has Made Unprecedented Strides in Empowering Young Adults with Autism
In its first year of business, Rising Tide Car Wash has not only made an extraordinary difference in helping people with autism to build a career and achieve an independent lifestyle, but it has also played a major role in inspiring communities to change their perception of the capabilities that people with autism have.
Currently, unemployment among people with autism is approximately 90 percent, and at least 500,000 more individuals with autism will enter the workforce in the next decade. One year ago (April 6, 2013), John and Thomas D'Eri, co-founders and respectively the president and COO of Rising Tide Car Wash, launched their business to create a supportive environment where young adults with autism could thrive and achieve independence. This included John's son and Thomas' brother, 21-year-old Andrew D'Eri, a vibrant individual with autism.
Today, Rising Tide is one of the largest employers of people with autism in the US with 30+ employees, and aims to be the premier car wash experience in the market. Breaking down the car washing process into 46 distinct steps, Rising Tide helps its associates with autism realize their incredible capabilities, gain confidence that they never had before, make friends, gain financial independence, and have a place to call their own.
Since opening, Rising Tide has almost tripled its customer base, and built an "Unlimited Wash Club" membership of approximately 1,000 people.
During the past 12 months, Rising Tide has made significant strides in creating awareness of the capabilities that people with autism have. These include:
•On April 21, 2014, Rising Tide was featured on the national evening television news program, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Emmy award-winning international journalist Harry Smith visited Rising Tide to create the segment, which showcased how Rising Tide is empowering young adults with autism. To view the segment, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd2-kvJQnk4&feature=youtu.be.
•Chosen from over 240 applying companies worldwide as one of 13 carefully vetted ventures, Rising Tide was selected to attend Unreasonable Institute Global, one of the most prestigious social impact accelerator programs in the world, in summer 2014.
•On April 6, 2014, Rising Tide was awarded with the 2014 Miami Walk Now for Autism Speaks' first-ever Autism Awareness Award.
•On April 1, 2014 (World Autism Awareness Day), at a Rising Tide press conference with Congressman Ted Deutch, U.S. Representative for Florida's 21st congressional district, the D'Eris awarded 14 Rising Tide employees, who celebrated their first anniversary with the social enterprise, with a certificate of recognition. The employees represent 40 percent of Rising Tide's opening staff. Of those employees, one has been promoted to manager, and three to team leader.
•On March 18, 2014, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief and the Broward County Commissioners honored Rising Tide as the Broward County Business of the Week/ deemed March 18 Rising Tide Car Wash Day in Broward County.
•On March 14, 2014, Rising Tide was announced the winner of CareerSource Broward's Connections 2014 Small Business of the Year Award, which recognizes a business with fewer than 50 employees with an exceptional record of disability-friendly practices, including hiring persons with disabilities and participating in job training programs. Broward County Public Schools nominated Rising Tide for the award.
•John and Thomas D'Eri were invited to speak at the February 2014 TEDx Coconut Grove, an entity of the national TED program of local, self-organized events that engage the community in a discussion of ideas to expand perspectives and make a philanthropic impact. Also in February 2014, Rising Tide was the recipient of TEDx Coconut Grove's annual Hope Prize of $5,000, which reflects the national TED program's effort to give exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world the opportunity to fulfill those wishes.
•John and Thomas D'Eri were selected by Autism Speaks to share their knowledge at the first-of-its-kind national Extraordinary Ventures Conference in January 2014.
•Rising Tide is featured in "Sounding the Alarm," a Blockburger Productions documentary which provides a poignant look inside the lives of those touched by autism.
•Rising Tide was awarded the SOCAP13 (Social Capital Markets Conference) scholarship in summer 2013.
"After only one year in business, we are happy to have achieved many great milestones in empowering young adults with autism," said John D'Eri. "We look forward to continuing our progress in setting people with autism up for success, and changing the perception of communities around the U.S. and the world to understand the awesome capabilities that people with autism have."
SOURCE Rising Tide Car Wash