See highlights of job success stories, Employer Recognitions, a video link below. For a printable PDF copy click here: January Newsletter
Message From Executive Director, Trish Borden. I like reflecting on the people and partners that contribute to Trillium’s mission of promoting inclusive community and employment opportunities. We have employers that advocate the benefits of integrated employment to other businesses. We work with County and State staff that support innovation and provide technical assistance to advance our outcomes. We work with teachers who prioritize job readiness and work internships in their curriculum. We have legislators who understand the social and economic return on the state’s investment in employment services – a working person is a consumer and a taxpayer. Even the US Department of Labor is supporting our mission with its recent video featuring Brendan O’Neill who has worked atValleyMedicalCenterfor 16 years with support from Trillium. Check out the video link below also available on our website.
We are grateful for these partners and the ways they allow us to increase employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. As the Executive Director, I am also extremely grateful for the guidance and support I receive from Trillium’s Board of Directors. We recently added two new Board Members, Bruce Work and Steffanie Fain, who will bring fresh and diverse expertise to our organization for future endeavors. We are also sadly losing our Board President, Steve LePenske who has served Trillium since 1998. During his stewardship, Steve focused on sustaining an organizational culture that fosters compassion and team work. Steve walked his talk by making great efforts to know staff personally and their work. Steve’s legacy of small acts of greatness is embedded inTrillium. Enjoy your photography and gardening, Steve. From Team Trillium to all of our partners, thanks!
One Year Anniversary of our Kitsap Program!
In early 2011, Trillium began providing services inKitsapCounty. Heidi Scheibner, formerly on ourPierceCountystaff, was delighted to bring Trillium services to her home community in Port Orchard. With incredible demand for Trillium’s services in Kitsap, Heidi quickly went from working out of the trunk of her car to leasing an office in Silverdale and adding three full-time staff serving 40 individuals.
Trillium also successfully competed for a grant fromKitsapCountyfor a School To Work project. We are excited to partner with South andCentralKitsapSchool Districtsto help six students graduating in June 2012 to find their first job. We will bring lessons learned from our program inKingCountywhere we have experienced that working with students while they are in their final year of school increases employment outcomes by over 30%.
In addition to finding new jobs for those who are unemployed, the Kitsap staff have focused on career advancement for those working. With tailored goals for each person, our dedicated and creative staff support employed individuals in adding new job responsibilities, increasing hours, decreasing reliance on a job coach, and improving coworker supports. Stories of new successes, personal pride, and employer satisfaction have been motivating reminders that we all have potential to grow!
When Cathy requested Trillium’s services, she had been working at Burger King in Poulsbo for over 14 years. Cathy had become bored with only wiping tables and her employer was unsure how to keep Cathy on staff. Trillium worked with Cathy and the Burger King team to assess Cathy’s strengths and the restaurant’s needs. Now Cathy is responsible to ensure there are enough clean trays during the busy lunch rush. A win-win!
With an assortment of whimsical aprons, colorful shoes, and an engaging smile, Madelyn brings laughter and joy to her shifts at Ridgemont Terrace in Port Orchard. Employed as a Kitchen Aide for over four years now, Trillium helped Madelyn add a new job duty, chopping onions and celery. Additionally, she is responsible for rolling silverware, filling water carafes, stocking the beverage area, slicing oranges, and portioning condiments. These days, she is spending her paychecks on movies, trips to California, and saving for an iPad.
Employer Recognitions – Thanks to all the businesses that create inclusive work places.
On October 5th 2011, the Hilton Hotel inVancouverhosted the10th Annual Celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The event featured local area employers and employees with disabilities, honoring their outstanding commitment. The event was sponsored by the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and the Clark County Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board.
Terry Krecklow and Jennifer Stephens, both employees ofPeaceHealthSouthwestMedicalCenter, participated on a panel during the ceremony. Jennifer, who works in the Emergency Department Administration, shared this advice for prospective employers, “We’re pretty safe to employ because we like to feel like we’re needed in the community, and that people see our disability as secondary to what we do for work.”
Luckily Mike is an early bird because his shift at Kohl’s starts at 6am! He is a member of the Freight Crew at Kohl’s inVancouverwhere he pulls plastic from racks of garments, opens boxes on the line, sorts products and recycles boxes. His favorite task is working on the line, but he has to get the racks done first, which is a challenge. Recently Mike finished an entire rack and beat his personal record. This accomplishment was not lost on his team; members from the warehouse stopped working to acknowledge Mike’s effort and gave a round of applause!
Ariana loves working with kids and currently works in her family’s daycare. But Ariana wanted more work, so Trillium helped her secure a position at Heaven Sent, a children’s consignment store inFederal Way. Ariana knew the store, since her mother shopped there when Ariana was a child. This job is a perfect fit for Ariana’s interests and she is building more skills. She sorts hangers, organizes shoes and clothing, and eventually will help hang clothes.
April Joy Farm hired Ian as a Farm Hand during the busy season. The farm is a certified organic farm, with a mission to build lasting relationships with local chefs, grocers and community members who strive to grow a sustainable, place-based food economy. Ian ensures that the crates are clean and ready to be loaded with produce. He also helps with feeding the chickens and stacking firewood. Ian flourishes in a work environment where he can be outdoors, enjoy physical movement and have a chance to get a little wet.
Graduating With A Job. Trevor is one of Kent’s Transition Opportunity Program 2012 graduates that will leave school with a job! Trevor works Monday through Friday 9am – 2pm at A-Plus Recycle and Removal. He disassembles computers and microwaves, cuts computer and TV cords, assists customers in loading items from vehicles, palletizes TV’s for recycling, sweeps the warehouse and manages garbage and recycling.
Artfully Employed Jeri tells her story with a bio alongside her artwork: “I’m Jeri Webb. My paintings help express the real me. Because of my cerebral palsy, people tend to misunderstand me and fail to realize my abilities. I paint because it relaxes me and brings me peace. When people see me, they see my disability. My paintings help bring out the person in me and qualities I possess.” Trillium staff are supporting Jeri to market her artwork. The first paycheck was a huge celebration…perhaps a commissioned piece is next!
Over 40 self advocates, family members, and Trillium staff joined the ARC’s rally November 28th when our legislators started the 2011 Special Session. In anticipation of the many difficult decisions our legislators would be making, we were a voice for the value of services that allow people with disabilities to live and work in the community. A number of self-advocates delivered their message directly to their legislators by catching them in the hallway or visiting their office. Trillium will continue to advocate for employment services. Be ready to contact your 2012 legislators!