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Group uses fashion design and art to empower adults with unique abilities

Posted at 4:39 PM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 04:51:39-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Art is about a lot more than paint and brushstrokes especially to those living with disabilities.

Mariah Hughes, 24, is one of those people; she’s one the autism spectrum. The way she describes it her mind is, “like a bowl of confusion." She says sometimes it’s easy to express herself and sometimes it’s not.

It doesn’t stop her passion for fashion and design.

A nonprofit, aZul for Better Living, gives her an outlet to learn, create, and take her talents to storefronts and fashion shows.

President of the organization Sandra Raffaelli explains: “We empower adults with unique abilities and their families using fashion design and art so they can achieve financial independence and to receive recognition.”

Azul also strives to promote inclusion between the disabled community and the rest of the world allowing people to learn firsthand they have more similarities than differences.

The women behind the nonprofit know there are others who need the same support, but they need help.

Raffaelli was recently nominated as a finalist in the 2019 Coor’s Light Lideres Program. The grand prize is $25,000. If she wins, she says she’ll use the money for scholarships to help people like Mariah learn important life lessons.

She can’t win without your online votes though. You can select Raffaelli’s name and picture to cast your vote up to 10 times a day until Aug. 30.