Q & A with Community Opportunities Manager
Question -Would you tell us a little bit about what you do for Loveland Center?
Answer – In Community Opportunities we help students find competitive employment. Once that is accomplished, we help them learn to manage all aspects of their new job. From learning new tasks to interacting with co-workers and supervisors. We assist with transportation arrangements and advocate for the employee at the work site. We also work with the employer so they can learn to better utilize each employee’s skills more efficiently.
Q – Can you give us an overview of what your program involves?
A – It is a complicated process, but it is necessary to make sure that our students can be in an environment that they will enjoy working. We start with a referral from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Anyone can go to Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Their website is www.rehabworks.org; and they have an office here in Venice. We then meet with the student and the family, to find out what he/she would enjoy doing; and what they feel they would be good at doing. We offer an assessment at the local Goodwill Store. This gives us an opportunity to assess their skills, and teach them new ones. It also gives the students a chance to expand their horizon – to show them that they may be able to do more than they or their family thought they could do. They also get paid for this assessment at $7.67 per hour.
Q – What are some duties that students might perform in their positions?
A – There are so many. There are currently 21 students working and 9 volunteering in the community. We have students who bus tables, roll silverware and clean examination rooms at a Vet Clinic. There are some who cashier at restaurants, hang and organize apparel at clothing stores, and one who works as a receptionist. We have a student named Bob who has been working for the Venice YMCA for 14, and he washes all the of laundry. You may remember Bob he was featured in a YouTube video on the Loveland page.
Q – If employers wanted to know how to employ Loveland Students or even find out more about the benefits of employing someone with developmental disabilities, how would they find that information?
This past Saturday, AKtion Club went to Tampa for the state convention. The state convention is a time to for AKtion Clubs from the state to showcase the service projects that Clubs have been working on all year. The Venice Chapter has won numerous awards at the state convention, includingAKtion Club of the Year.
The local Kiwanis Chapter sponsors AKtion Club. Members give back to the community in many ways. AKtion Club has adopted Woodmere Park through the Keep Sarasota County Beautifulprogram. They also ring the Salvation Army Bells at Christmas Time, collect items for the Veterans Hospital in Tampa, and participate in local Cancer Relay walks.
“We are blessed that the community has supported us, and we love to give back to the community.” Regina Cahill, the co-coordinator for the club, told about the jobs of working with AKtion Club.
If you would like more information, or if you would like to be a guest speaker at an AKtion Club meeting, you can contact Regina Cahill at 941.493.0016 ext.329.
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Sharon has attended Loveland for the past 11 years. There has been a lot that has changed in that time here at Loveland, and as well with Sharon.
What started with participating in AKtion Club, has led to Sharon chairing the Vice President position. Sharon loves being an officer with AKtion Club. “We have many different events through out the summer time, like community dances and a park clean up. She is also involved in many other activities, like Skills USA Club and her favorite, Loveland Follies. Sharon began will smaller roles from the chorus to leading roles and performing solos.
Sharon spends 3 days a week in the community working at Venice Pines Veterinary Clinic. She enjoyes working there and loves the time she gets to spend with the animals. Sharon adores the residential cats at the Clinc, she makes sure that they revice the propper attention after she finishs her work. She preforms multiple duties at the clinic. Her jobs range from cleaning windows, to making sure that all the exam rooms are clean.
To top it all off Sharon is involved with the Special Olympics. Sharon has been an acomplished athlete winning state in tennis last year. She is starting to compete in Doubles Bowling this year with a new partner.
One thing is sure, Sharon is one busy lady.
We are sure that you know all about Loveland House by now, but if you don’t we get you up to speed. Loveland House is a residential group home. It provides residents with independence they want, but still retain the structure and support that they may need. Highly trained professionals, who truly care, support students in many ways. Residents of Loveland House stay active by taking part in various activities. They regularly take part in museum visits, boat outings, eating out and much, much more.
Loveland House is a great opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities to work towards becoming independent. If you would like to know more about Loveland House, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also call the Loveland House directly and speak to the manager Ken Badolato at 941-493-0016, ext. 335.