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Paper Clouds Apparel showcases the creative minds and artistic abilities of those with special needs while raising funds to support special needs individuals and organizations. We achieve this goal by selling t-shirts, mugs, and totes featuring artwork designed by individuals with special needs. Fifty percent of the net proceeds from sales of all merchandise is given either to a selected organization or directly to the artists.
Bobby Paugh is a multi-passionate creator who has been on board behind the scenes of Paper Clouds for over five years. After connecting with Robert Thornton through the music scene, Bobby quickly became passionate about the Paper Clouds Apparel mission, connecting his web development skills and ability to empower small business owners with his desire to support this community of special needs artists. When Robert made the tough decision to end his PCA journey, Bobby, along with his fiance Sophie, felt called to carry on the mission. Sophie Brame’s background is in community outreach and education, with a focus on mental health and mentorship. She has previously worked with students with learning differences and has been involved with charitable organizations such as Project Sunshine and HealthCorps, Inc.
Bobby and Sophie live in Austin, TX. Bobby is a Realtor® and a professional musician, and Sophie is a Program Specialist at Austin Community College.
“We are honored to carry on what Robert and the beautiful PCA community have built by continuing to raise money and awareness for our special needs causes and organizations. It is beyond exciting to have this platform to showcase our talented artists, and we can’t wait to share new products and designs!” – Bobby & Sophie
Robert Thornton’s mother was a bus driver for children with special needs in Chico, CA. One of the little girls on her route would spend the duration of her ride drawing. When the bus arrived at school, the little girl often gave his mother her artwork. During a visit home, Robert saw one of the little girl’s drawings on the refrigerator and thought the characters she’d drawn were fantastic! Being the ‘t-shirt junkie’ that he is, he commented that the artwork would look great on a shirt. And the spark for Paper Clouds Apparel began!
Robert had been searching for a new professional path, after pursuing a career in baseball, and always knew he wanted to do something to help others. Paper Clouds Apparel (PCA) was the idea he had been seeking. For almost two years, he worked construction, bartended, and worked other odd jobs to raise start-up funding for PCA.
For 12 years, Robert has made a huge impact on countless lives, recognizing and showcasing the artistic talents of individuals with special needs, connecting with the artists’ families and communities, and creating jobs for those with special needs. He was able to give 500+ individuals with special needs the opportunity to see their art on shirts. His acts of service and creativity have been a source of joy and inspiration for many.
In addition to his work in the special needs community, Robert also began Cloud Covered Streets, a 501c3 nonprofit that provides hope, compassion, and essential resources to individuals experiencing homelessness. CCS brings mobile shower trailers, laundry services, haircuts, and new clothing to those experiencing homelessness in order to help them find their path back to living their best life possible.