When acceptance and understanding can feel like distant ideals, individuals like Layla Luna stand out as beacons of hope, determined to shape a more welcoming world.

Luna, the founder of Just Bee®, a nonprofit organization with a mission to create a more autism-friendly world, has faced skeptics who deemed her dream impossible. But it is Luna’s personal journey as a mother to her son Rio, who is on the spectrum, that fuels her motivation to push boundaries and challenge stereotypes.

Just Bee, founded in 2019, is not just a vision for Luna; it is a lifeline for parents of children on the spectrum who often feel isolated and overwhelmed by the challenges they face. This message of solidarity and support is at the heart of Just Bee’s initiatives, aiming to raise awareness and create a more inclusive society for individuals with autism.

“There are honestly so many stories of how Just Bee has made an impact on families with loved ones on the spectrum,” Luna said. “I know firsthand how changing the narrative of individuals who have never been exposed to autism and once trained and learned about this special community has changed their lives forever.”

An ally in Just Bee’s mission is REV, a financial institution that believes in the power of community and giving back. Recently, Just Bee held a sensitivity training session at the company’s headquarters, during which seven team members learned about indicators, helpful interventions, and ways to support those living with autism in their community.

“Just Bee’s advocacy efforts naturally align with REV’s values and goals,” said President and CEO Jason Lee. “By listening to the diverse voices in our community and genuinely understanding their needs and challenges, we can tailor our efforts to support them. Creating safe spaces where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and experiences is key, and through this culture, REV can positively impact the community while continuing to drive towards our goals.”

As a Just Bee-certified sensory-friendly business, REV reaffirms its commitment to inclusivity and dedication to creating a welcoming environment and safe space for everyone, regardless of their abilities. Through Luna’s advocacy, South Carolina has become the first state ever to recognize license plates identifying individuals on the spectrum, signaling officers to adhere to sensory protocols during traffic stops.

“We are just moving forward with the ‘Mother on a Mission’ focus,” Luna said. “We’re creating a movement. Every great community has a great moment in history and this is ours.”

With the financial contribution from REV, Just Bee continues its work progressing towards a future where individuals with autism or neurodiversity are afforded the same quality of life opportunities as anyone else.