John’s Crazy Socks has announced that Isabella Blake, of Irvine, California, has won the third Annual “Autism Can Do” Scholarship. Ms. Blake will use the funds to continue her studies at Irvine Valley College and University of California-Irvine. This year’s scholarship was co-sponsored by the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism.
Upon hearing that she won the scholarship, Ms. Blake said, “I am thrilled and so grateful to receive the Autism Can Do Scholarship. When I first learned about it, I was really impressed that a businessman with Down syndrome wanted to help an autistic student. I love seeing unity in the disability community.”
John Cronin, co-founder and Chief Happiness officer at John’s Crazy Socks, said, “We are so excited for Isabella. She won the scholarship with a great sock design and her passionate commitment for making a difference in the world for people on the autism spectrum.”
Nick Savarese, Executive Director of the Flutie Foundation, said, “We applaud Isabella Blake for winning this scholarship. We know what people with autism can achieve and we want to help others to reach their fullest potential.”
Isabella Blake started her studies at UC Irvine before the pandemic. During the pandemic, she continued her studies at Irvine Valley College, a local community college, and with this scholarship, hopes to return to UC Irvine. Isabella is an avid lover of animals, the outdoors, and yoga, a proud autistic woman, and a passionate disability activist and advocate. She is an active member of the board of Autism Resource Mom, a local non-profit and what she likes most about being a board member of ARM is that she is an autistic person in a position of leadership, helping to reveal and celebrate the strengths and talents of the autistic community. Isabella aspires to be either a disability studies professor/researcher or director of a disability non-profit or government agency.
The John’s Crazy Socks ”Autism Can Do” Scholarship presents a $5,000 scholarship to a person on the autism spectrum in the United States or Canada to use at a college or trade school. To win the scholarship, Isabella completed a brief form, submitted a personal statement, and designed a pair of socks. Isabella designed word search socks where the hidden words include those significant to Isabella’s life mission – self-advocacy, leadership, and autism. A twelve-person selection panel carefully reviewed the more than 180 applications before selecting the winner. Isabella will not only receive a $5,000 scholarship, but John’s Crazy Socks will produce the socks she designed and will sell them in their online store. Thus, Isabella Blake is now a world-class sock designer.
John’s Crazy Socks created the “Autism Can Do” Scholarship as part of its Giving Back Program and its mission to show what people can do when given a chance. More than half the employees at John’s Crazy Socks have a differing ability and many of them are on the autism spectrum.
Mark X. Cronin, John’s Dad and co-founder said, “we sponsor the Autism Can Do Scholarship to celebrate people with autism, to offer encouragement and to highlight for the world what people on the autism spectrum can achieve. We want to help Isabella’s dreams come true.”John’s Crazy Socks and the Flutie Foundation will hold a scholarship presentation ceremony. At that time, John and Mark X. Cronin, the co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, will present Ms. Blake with her scholarship as well as a dozen of the socks she designed.