Learning from a ‘Retail University’

Book signing at It’s All Good. From left, Matheny teacher Darlene Tammara, Raven Bennett, Matheny speech-language pathologist Brynna Cunningham and It’s All Good store manager Diane Gerber.

Matheny School student Raven Bennett has written a book called “Heart Attack” that tells the story of a relationship through poetry. Bennett’s poems reflect different stages of a typical relationship and the journey a person takes through a relationship.

Bennett’s accomplishment, in and of itself, is quite impressive, but now that the book has been written, she wanted to market it more aggressively. Enter It’s All Good, a store in Somerville, NJ, operated by Bridges to Employment, the supported employment division of Alternatives, Inc., a nonprofit social service organization that has been providing a variety of services to those with special needs in the community since 1979. Through a grant from the Kessler Foundation, Alternatives was able to create a “Retail University” to provide job training and readiness assessments to individuals with brain injuries, neurological impairments and other disabilities.

Through the Retail University program, Bennett learned about event planning and was able to hold a book signing at It’s All Good on October 24. She also learned how to create an email campaign using a professional email server in order to market the event and create a list of followers. At the signing, Bennett sold 16 books, and she donated the proceeds to her church in Bound Brook, NJ