Interview: Robert Thornton

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today’s interviewee is Robert Thornton, founder of Paper Clouds Apparel. Paper Clouds Apparel sells t-shirts, prints, and greeting cards featuring artwork designed by individuals with special needs and half of the proceeds go back to the school or organization who donated the work. As their tagline says, "Helping others has never looked so good."

RobertThorntonWhat have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I was wonderstruck by a group of people from Wisconsin who sent me letters thanking me for what I am doing to help those with special needs. Sometimes I can get frustrated and worn thin by working 110-hour weeks, but these letters reached me at the perfect time and reminded me exactly why I am doing this.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I am literally grateful for every morning I am allowed to open my eyes. Every new day is a chance to change a life in a positive manner.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

The middle of the afternoon can be tough. If I had a long day of sending unreturned emails or a slow day selling our Paper Clouds Apparel products to raise funding for special needs schools/organizations, it can frustrate me a little. I just take a look at some of the emails I received from the parents of children with special needs thanking me for doing what I am doing, then I snap out of it real quick. :)

What do you wish you are more conscious of?

I wish I was more conscious of taking care of myself. I know I need to get more sleep, eat better and get more exercise. But when I try to sleep, my mind keeps spinning--thinking about the emails I need to send, people I need to call and art I need to collect. Then, I forget to eat a lot of the time because I am busy working on projects. And when I'm at the gym, my mind starts telling me all the things I could be doing for Paper Clouds Apparel instead of lifting. I just need to recognize that all my work will be much better if I am rested and healthy. So, now I am scheduling sleep, time to eat and exercise, and it is already sharpening my work.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

To stay focused on the task at hand of growing Paper Clouds Apparel and helping millions of individuals with special needs I simply just need to read emails I have received from parents of children with special needs thanking me for what I am doing. I have been very blessed to receive a large amount of positive reinforcement from members of the special needs community who see all the different ways what I am doing with Paper Clouds Apparel is beneficial to all with special needs. Their positive words and how hard they work to help their children gives me all the extra motivation I need to keep fighting the good fight.

About Robert Thornton:

Robert is the founder of Paper Clouds Apparel. Paper Clouds Apparel raises funding for special needs schools and organizations, while showcasing the amazing artistic abilities and talents of those with special needs.

Every two weeks, Paper Clouds Apparel is teamed up with a different special needs school or organization. So, every two weeks there is a new line of shirts, 8x10" prints and greeting card sets featuring amazing art created by artists with special needs.

Find Robert and Paper Clouds Apparel here:

Twitter: @PaperCloudsPCA


  1. Wow. As a former special ed teacher, I am impressed. What a great idea. I'm going to go to the website now and check it out. Thanks.


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