When Judy Weber started a school to facilitate the needs of severely autistic children, including her own son, the region gained an advocate who has become a force of nature.
Her school, Tobinworld, has been a saving grace since 1997 for students with severe developmental disabilities, giving them a second chance at an education that requires around-the-clock attention and supervision.
Now, the school has hundreds of students, and a nearly identical number of staff. The students come from throughout the Greater Los Angeles region, and now, they have another outlet through which to gain valuable life skills — Tobinworld Treasures, a gift store that will support the school as students get the opportunity to learn the ropes of employment.
"I worry about them when they graduate and leave us," Weber, now in her 70s, said during the store's opening.
As should we all. Her students face a lifetime of challenges and social judgment upon graduation, and so any support this community can provide to Weber's effort will be at least one sign that the world they're entering is a generous place.