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Fraser Giving People With Disabilities A Chance To Pursue Their Passion

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- This weekend, WCCO-TV's Jason DeRusha and Nina Moini will be hosting the Fraser Annual Benefit in downtown Minneapolis.

Fraser is one of the largest providers of Autism services in the state, but we learned there are also resources for people with many other types of challenges. One of those resources could help someone you know start a business.

For a long time it seemed there were more setbacks than opportunities.

Growing up in Bloomington, Nikki Abramson lived with muscular dystrophy throughout her life. Then in 2010, she was in a car accident that left her bed-ridden for seven months. She now suffers from Dystonia, which is similar to Parkinson's.

"We can look at our struggles as though this is the worst thing that ever happened to me and we have a cloud over our head or we can look at it as an opportunity to do something and help encourage other people," Abramson said.

She has the spirit for success. She wanted to start a motivational speaking business, but didn't have the background to get her idea off the ground. That's when she was referred to Fraser's Self Employment Supports Program.

"I think it's easier for people to do things they are passionate about," said Heidi Burch with Fraser.

Burch is working with Abramson on her business plan at Fraser. She said she helps clients with a variety of challenges, from cerebral palsy to bipolar disorder.

"Some of my clients have an illness where they need medication for couple weeks and can't do services so they can make their business work around their disability," Burch said.

The program helps with everything from market research to applying for loans, and the coaching lasts for at least one year.

"Everybody wants to be independent and successful like a contributing member to society," Burch said.

Burch said that's harder to do because once children with disabilities become adults, there's less readily available funding after K-12.

"It's really like they walk out of high school and are left in the middle of nowhere," Burch said.

With this help, Nikki says her plan for her business called Renew Hope is closer to completion. And she's closer to her calling.

"If someone is going through a challenge I just want to be able to walk alongside them support and encourage them as well," Abramson said.

And this isn't just for young adults. Burch said she has some clients in their 60s.

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