FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas teenager with autism is now an overnight entrepreneur thanks to his creativity and the collective power of social media.
Seventeen-year-old Garrison Hopkins’ artistic venture started as a lesson in finance, but after a Facebook post by his mother Heather Arlen, the whole family has learned more about community than the bottom line.
“It makes me very emotional. He has come a long way,” said Arlen, about her son who lost his father to a hit-and-run driver in 2012.
Hopkins’ muses are animals; living and extinct. He has a stuffed animal collection, and wanted to add to it. Thus, his mother suggested raising money by selling his art and the “Garrison The Great Artwork” Facebook page was born.
People who “like” the Public Group can then commission Garrison to draw them a picture. And the orders are flooding in. From former teachers, neighbors and even strangers from as far away as Canada have bought original artwork. Many have paid more than the $1 asking price, too.
Hopkins’ art is fueling his creativity and helping him learn about money management… but for his mother it’s so much more. For the first time, her son who for years struggled to communicate, is now creating and beaming with pride.
“This is an incredible thing to witness as his mama,” said Arlen.
Hopkins received more than 100 orders in the first 24 hours his Facebook page was live.