Fowlerville restaurant to only employ students with disabilities


FOWLERVILLE, Mich. (WLNS) – A new restaurant coming to Fowlerville is working to provide a more inclusive environment for a certain group of students who need jobs.

While the building may be empty now, it will soon be home to a restaurant specifically to employ students with disabilities.

“Everybody that wants to work should be able to work,” said Sarah Ruddle, a co-founder of Torch 180.

The restaurant is called Torch 180 and co-founders Sarah Ruddle and Rhonda Callahan say they came up with the idea because they saw a need in the Fowlerville community to help students with disabilities find jobs.

“We really want them to be able to become part of their community, to be a working member of their community,” said Callahan.

Callahan says the process isn’t always easy for students with special needs, especially those from low income areas.

“Employment can be challenging for them to try and get that and to seek that and find that,” said Callahan.

But by opening Torch 180, the founders hope it will provide an opportunity for these students both in and outside of the kitchen.

“We all want the same thing. We all want friends, we all want love, we all want acceptance, we all want to contribute to society, so I hope that this really shows everybody that we are all the same,” said Ruddle.

They hope by giving them a platform it will show the community a new perspective on what society can do with the help of one another.

“I think sometimes there’s a little bit of intimidation or fear of the unknown when you’re talking about somebody who might be dealing with some disabilities, and so I’d like to take that away, take away some of those stigmas and just teach people that we really are one society, one group of people, and everybody has something to give,” said Callahan.

With the community’s support, the founders say their goal is to open by next summer.

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