When complimented on her bright, splashy Lilly Pulitzer dress, Grace Sandquist beams. The 26-year-old confesses that she was once a tomboy, but a few years ago, she ditched her casual garb for all things glitter, glitz and glam. Her grey slip-on shoes are studded with rhinestones.
“I’m a fashionista,” Grace says, adding that the beautiful ball gown worn by Lily James in the 2015 remake of Disney’s Cinderella is what inspired her to switch from sweats to skirts. Her goal is to one day design a fashion line for Disney.
Grace’s mother, Emily Bukow, says that once Grace went girly, she never looked back. Her passion for fashion led Grace, who has Down syndrome, to volunteer twice a week at the Juno Beach Hospice Resale Shop. The staff at the shop welcomed Grace, whose favorite duties are, “anything having to do with the clothes and shoes,” including hanging clothes and straightening the shoes on the racks. “This has been a great learning experience for Grace,” says Emily. “It has helped to set her up for success.”
Since becoming a member of the resale shop team, Emily says Grace has grown more independent, and has even inspired her and her husband to both become Trustbridge volunteers. Emily and Grace volunteered at this year’s Camp Good Grief for kids, and Emily’s husband recently completed volunteer training.
Grace, who by nature is a social butterfly, does not only volunteer at the resale shop. The young woman is a student at Florida Atlantic University, graduating in April, 2019. She is also very active in the local chapter of Special Olympics. The organization provides year-round sports training and competition to children and adults ages 8 and older. Grace plays basketball (which she states is her favorite), track and field, bowling, swimming, and stand-up paddle boarding.
“The more we volunteer, the more our hearts grow for Trustbridge and what the organization does,” says Emily. “We’ve just learned so much.”