FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Inspired by her mother's dedication to special education and her own experience with children with autism, a 14-year-old girl in Franklin started a hat business benefiting the Global Autism Project.
"These kids are just so kind-hearted," said Hannah Farkas of the kids she knows with autism.
Farkas is about to begin her freshman year of high school and is a part of the Best Buddies program at school, which pairs students with kids with autism or Down syndrome to spend time together.
Hannah's mom, Rachael Farkas, has been a special education teacher her whole career and decided to ramp up her involvement off the clock.
"I interviewed with the Global Autism Project back in the spring, and I was very excited to learn that I will be part of the SkillCorp team that will be traveling in 2022 to one of the 12 or 13 partner sites around the world," explained Rachael.
She said the purpose of the trip is "to promote understanding, acceptance and integration for individuals with autism," and train teachers to help their students with autism.
"Unfortunately, there isn't the acceptance and understanding within their communities," explained Rachael. "So, all these teachers are trying so hard to work with these children. Yet these children and the families go out into the community and the locals don't have an understanding and don't have an acceptance. So we as the Global Autism Project have gone in and our hope is that we can help the communities get a better understanding, gain acceptance and be able to integrate these individuals into their local communities."
When Hannah learned her mom needed to fundraise for resources to bring on the trip, she started thinking how she could help.
"I started the Instagram account, and it took me a couple, like it took me about a week and a half to start going, and then all my friends happened to buy," explained Hannah. "We hung out at the pool one day and took pictures with our hats, we all posted it on Instagram, and since then, my orders have blown up."
It was only a matter of days before her friends started calling her creation "Happy Hats," and she started a business benefiting the Global Autism Project called "Hats for Global Autism."
"My mission is to spread smiles around the world one hat at a time," said Hannah.
Hannah explained she felt smiles were fitting on the hats because during the trip, her mom Rachel will be, "making a bunch of people smile so I was like, that just goes perfectly."
Rachael shared a quote, which explains her passion for her upcoming trip in 2022, "teaching one child is amazing, but if you have the opportunity to teach teachers, how many lives are they going to change?"
Hannah's hats are available on her website: www.Hats4GlobalAutism.org.
You can also follow her progress on Instagram by clicking here.