LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA , U.S, April 1, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — In 2021, only 19.1% of people with disabilities were employed, and across all age groups, persons with disabilities were much less likely to be employed than those with no disabilities. Jeff Gold and Shanna Forrestall are changing the culture of disability unemployment through equitable programs that encourage autonomy and creativity.
Jeff Gold and Shanna Forrestall have been creating employment opportunities for young people on the autism spectrum for years. The duo have both been personally affected by the increasing numbers and have found a way to utilize their passion for storytelling and elevating diverse voices. The duo has created a production pipeline that hires and mentors young adults on the autism spectrum to support their artistic growth while creating a sense of autonomy as they enter the workforce. Gold and Forrestall work closely with their creative partners to help them with their work designing visuals for the music videos, children’s stories and meditations.
Most of the young people working with the team have aged out of high school, and gone on to take classes at the AFA-HUB. The AFA-HUB is an online program that empowers attendees to gain skills in the areas of illustration, animation, video editing and video game design and their study is directed by a team of professionals who teach them to build on their natural abilities. The next step in their professional development is finding mentorship and working on creative projects to build a portfolio and get paid for their work.
Gold and Forrestall have both been working with neurodiverse individuals for many years and they enjoy discovering new ways to accommodate and communicate with their creative counterparts. “What I love most about working with neurodiverse individuals is the opportunity to validate their unique perspectives on the world and to empower them to be a part of the storytelling. Our team has been an invaluable asset to helping me to create more colorful stories with real emotional impact and we’re getting better at storytelling by the day,” says Shanna.
Under the My Calm World label, the duo offers a series of original children’s stories with illustrations and animation created by AFA graduates. Many of their digital products are created specifically for children with autism and their families in mind. Supporting their team’s work is simple. Supporters can stream, download, share, and engage with the content. There are two new products being released in April to celebrate Autism Awareness Month. Whoella is a children’s bedtime story about a sweet owl who learns self-love, and Spring Green is an original song and music video celebrating life, growth and new beginnings featuring vocals by Free the Unicorn.
About Jeff Gold and Shanna Forrestall
California native Jeff Gold composes soulful and spiritual instrumentals for relaxation, meditation and healing. His music has been embraced by massage, yoga and other relaxation practitioners, medical therapists and as a relaxation therapy for children on the spectrum and other special needs children and adults. Tapping his almost 25 years of experience as a Video and Sound editor for clients like NBC, MTV and MADtv, his “Second Career” now focuses on music, meditations and children’s products, composing “Heavy Mellow” music that has produced two #1 ‘Best Selling’ CD’s on Amazon, ‘Escapes’ and ‘Simple Treasures,’ while being streamed over 3 million times per year on Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora.
Shanna Forrestall has been involved in storytelling since she was a little girl, playing dress-up with her siblings and friends. She’s always been captivated by unique real-life stories, and lured by the power of fables and myths to teach life truths. Forrestall uses her 15+ years of working in film, TV and reality TV to tell stories in a variety of mediums. She is an award winning screenwriter, producer and actress. For the past few years, Forrestall has been working with Jeff Gold of My Calm World to release a series of children’s bedtime audio stories, a meditation series and is also producing original music and music videos under Fire & Water Music.
My Calm World – our Autism Story
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