Juno Beach Cafe’s autistic employee: His mother provides inspiration to help young student speak

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Our story about the amazing Carpenter family, whose son Reese has become a favorite of Juno Beach Cafe customers during the year he’s worked there, has gotten overwhelming praise from those in the autism community, those in Juno who’ve been on the receiving end of one of Reese’s sweet smiles and his coffee-pouring prowess, and just people who like a good, positive story about the power of hard work and belief.

Reese has gained a lot of fans, but there’s at least one North Palm Beach family who are fans of another Carpenter – Reese’s mother Angela, who quit her job as a paralegal when her son was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and went to work as a teaching assistant for a charter school for kids like him.

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Landon Saake, who learned to speak with the help of Miss Angie Carpenter, mother of Juno Beach Cafe employee Reese Carpenter

“Thank you for writing this!,” writes Calley Smith, whose five-year-old son, Landon Saake, is a student at The Learning Center at the Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter. “Miss Angie was one of the teachers in Landon’s class last year. She kept telling me that he was going to have a breakthrough and start speaking. I never really allowed myself to believe her, but she was so right. Over the summer he started speaking. Not well, he still has a long way to go, but before he wouldn’t even try. But Miss Angie is an amazing person!”

Miss Angie, who now works at Palm Beach Gardens’ Connections Educations Center, another charter school for those on the spectrum, originally told the Post that she went into education to both learn what to do when her son entered school and to serve as a resource to other parents. Obviously, it’s working.

 

Local mom gets “Shark Tank” deal with Lori Greiner

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Sarah Blain, the single mom entrepreneur whose Boca Raton-based business Sealed By Santa was recently featured in the Palm Beach Post, appeared on Friday night’s “Shark Tank” to try and get a $150,000 investment for 20 percent of her company. After a video visit from St. Nick himself, three offers and some tears, she left with a deal from QVC queen Lori Greiner.

Blain, whose company offers customized letters from the North Pole complete with an authentic postmark, as well as reindeer food and a certificate that the receiving kid made the Nice List, got an initial offer from notoriously prickly Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary. (He, incidentally, did not make the Nice List.) But it was for a third of the company, which she explained was too much equity. She then started to cry, elaborating that she was now a single mother who needed to keep it around the 20 percent in an order to protect her business for her and her two daughters. She also explained that the day “Shark Tank” called was the day that her husband left, making it both the worst and best days. (If you’ve had both profound loss and gain in quick succession, this makes so much sense.)

She wound up accepting Lori’s offer of $150,000, consisting of a loan of $75,000, for 22.5 percent of the company, after being intrigued by the idea of adding a Tooth Fairy letter option. (Kids lose teeth year-round, doncha know.)

Read more on Sarah here.