Written by Danielle Taylor | Photos courtesy of Elkwood Arts

If you’re looking for unique, high-quality Christmas gifts and like to put your dollars toward a good cause, consider shopping at Elkwood Arts in Ridgway this holiday season. For nearly 25 years, this licensed vocational facility has provided supportive training and sheltered employment to intellectually and developmentally disabled adults as they create quality, handmade wood products.

Adults with cognitive disabilities often struggle to find meaningful employment, but Elkwood Arts harnesses their talents and provides a platform through which they can make a positive impact in their community. The program and the creative, professional environment it generates provide employees with skills they can carry on for future employment, and the opportunity helps them learn how to maximize their independence and get involved in their community.

Products they make range from attractive drink coasters to stackable shelves to potato and onion bins, and the talented staff can engrave custom text, company logos, and even photographs onto most standard items with their precision laser engraver. Employees also regularly tackle custom projects.

“The majority of our products are created from scratch and include work processes from our consumers within the program, which supports our mission,” says Tim Thomas, production manager at Elkwood Arts. “All proceeds from product sales go toward sustainability of the Elkwood Arts program.”

To browse through and purchase Elkwood Arts products, visit their stockroom at 43 Servidea Drive (along Route 219) in Ridgway, the Elk County Council on the Arts in Ridgway, or the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, or find them online at ElkwoodArts.com. To discuss a custom project, call (814) 776-2174.

Learn more and find other interesting places to visit in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region by going to VisitPAGO.com or calling (814) 849-5197.

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