LEXINGTON, Mass. — There is an old saying about life -- Everyone needs somewhere to go, something to do,and something to look forward to.
This adage is what parents of children with special needs worry about.
Their children can stay in public school until the age of 22.
After that, finding worthwhile ways to fill their time can be a challenge.
A new store in Lexington is offering a young man with Down syndrome a way to build his future in a positive way.
Omar Masood just opened Omar’s World of Comics & Hobbies on Waltham Street.
His parents, Sohail and Mona Masood, provided the financial backing for the store.
They said they know it won’t make a lot of money, but that isn’t the goal.
“For us, it is important that Omar continue being a productive member of society," Sohail Masood said. said. "We didn’t want him to stay home and play games or just keep watching TV."
Omar Masood is very serious about comics and super heroes. He knows the names of all the characters and their story lines.
With a big smile on his face, he told Boston 25 News that if worker disobeys the rules, he will fire them.
“He is so excited about the store,” his mother said. “Now he wakes up in the morning saying, 'My store, my friends.'"
Omar’s parents want to give back to LABB, the educational collaborative for special needs students at Lexington High School.
Students from that program are now interning at the store.
Omar’s World of Comics & Hobbies is a shining example of what is possible when love, patience and passion are combined.
It sets an example that Down syndrome advocates have long championed.
"We launched our Your Next Star employment campaign and the idea is to open the eyes of employers to the abilities of people with Down Syndrome in the work force, and again, that's exactly what this store is doing," Josh Komyerov, of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, said.
There is a full-time manager who takes care of the day-to-day operations.
In addition to selling comic books, action figures and games, the store is also sponsoring game nights and other activities to provide children of all ages a safe place to gather.
The town of Lexington was very supportive of the store.
Rules were modified to accommodate the store’s sign, which has Omar’s super hero image adorned with the Down syndrome colors.
Cox Media Group