It can be extremely difficult for adults living with special needs to find employment, but 20-year-old Andrew Spruill has found a creative way to earn some money and help the environment.
Spruill has autism and cerebral palsy, and is hoping to earn money in order to move out and gain independence. With the help of his mother, and the community, he started Andrew’s Aluminum. This is a small business in which Spruill collects aluminum cans from neighbors and local businesses, crushes them, and then turns them in to Trademark Metals Recycling in Dover for money.
Though Spruill started Andrew’s Aluminum only a few weeks ago, he has received incredible support from the community. He has bins at Art Monkey in FishHawk, and at The Village Early Learning Center, where locals can leave their cans for him to collect. He is hoping to expand on this, and add more bins at various locations soon.
In addition to recycling all of the cans he collects, Spruill is helping Shriners Hospital for Children as well. Through a friend, he donates the can pull-tabs to the hospital. The hospital then recycles them and all money goes to buying new medical equipment and benefitting the hospital in other ways.
Spruill himself is very excited by the growth of his business and the possibility of having more independence in the future. He is extremely grateful to his mother, Tina Spruill, who originally came up with the idea, and helped him get started.
“My family has taken such great care of me, but I think I can do better,” Spruill said. He dreams of being able to support his family and help out his parents. He also has ambitious business goals, and says that after seeing the support from the community pour in, he felt like Walt Disney. “I feel like God has lifted me up and shown me everything I’ve learned and what the human person is,” Spruill said.
Andew’s Aluminum is now open to all types of aluminum scrap metal, from scuba tanks to soda cans. In one fell swoop, Spruill is helping himself, the environment, Shriners Hospital, and inspiring other adults with special needs who may feel like they have no options.
More information about Andrew’s Aluminum can be found at andrewthecanman.com or on the Andrew’s Aluminum Facebook page.