Italian Ice Shop Provides Opportunities For Adults With Special Needs

Tyler Armstrong's boss believes he will help out with anything she needs done at Bria's Italian Ice shop, whether it's greeting customers, handing out sweet treats, or doing some heavy lifting.

Thursday, September 28th 2023, 5:35 pm



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A family-owned Italian ice shop is providing meaningful work opportunities for kids and adults with special needs.

Not everyone has the same positive attitude towards working as Tyler Armstrong does.

His boss, Amanda Espino, believes Armstrong will help out with anything she needs done at Bria's Italian Ice shop, whether it's greeting customers, handing out sweet treats, or doing some heavy lifting.

But it means a lot to Espino because she is more than just Armstrong's boss--she's also his sister.

"My family has always dreamed of supplying meaningful employment for Tyler," Espino said. "Even though he has skillsets different than most people, he has a skillset of bringing a lot of joy and happiness to people."

Espino and her family opened the shop only two months ago, but they think it's already a success because of the opportunity they are providing for Armstrong.

To Armstrong, getting to test out the ice cream and Italian ice is a cool perk to the job, but he enjoys the hard work more.

"Seeing people, handing the ice creams, and being able to volunteer here," Armstrong said.

Espino worried about finding employment opportunities for Armstrong after he graduated from high school, so providing that experience while being around family is a win-win.

"This is like a dream come true for me," Espino said. "I get so much joy when I walk in and see his pictures on the wall, and it brings me to tears sometimes when I get messages from people on social media saying they saw Tyler and it made their day or that they're asking when Tyler is working again so they can come see him because I have always known how wonderful Tyler really is and now the rest of Tulsa gets to see it as well."

Taking service with a smile to a whole new level.

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