Kaleidoscope Supported Employment is Transforming Lives in Walker County

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Gary Moore works Monday through Friday, cleaning bathrooms and break areas at Roper Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Appliances, a Haier Company.

Gary loves his job with I H Services and he’s liked by his co-workers, who bring him cake on special occasions and check on him when he’s sick.  “I’ve got a bunch of friends, they all miss me when I’m not here,” said Moore. “When I was out, they all sent me $360.”

You wouldn’t know it by his job performance, but Gary has a disability.  “We have about 40 others in our program who are out there working in the community, living full, rich lives feeling that they are contributing to their world,” explained Rebecca Clark, Supported Employment Coordinator for Kaleidoscope, a program of Lookout Mountain Community Services.  Clark works with area employers to educate them on how hiring someone with a disability not only benefits the community, but also makes business sense.

“Many times in the past, people with disabilities were thought to be unable to hold jobs and when given the opportunity, we see they can make very important and valuable contributions to the workplace,” said Clark.

As Gary’s supervisor, Ciara Norman knows that first hand. “He seasoned, of course he knows the routes and the ways way better than anybody else, but he knows how to interact with everyone here a little better.”

Kaleidoscope provides support along the way to clients and employers too.  Everyone in the program has a job coach who works to match the job seeker’s abilities and interests with potential positions. Once hired, Kaleidoscope assists with pre-employment paperwork, provides training and coaching on job responsibilities, and helps both parties understand the impact of changes at work, like new duties or a supervisor switch.

Darlene Cannon, Job Coach, said “To help make that transition to where they are able to communicate together so she knows how Gary works and why he does his job the way he does his job.”

Gary has been on the job for nearly 18 years… and says he’d be bored if he wasn’t working. “I enjoy it, because I’m used to doing it at home.”

For more information on becoming a client or business partner, contact Kaleidoscope at 706-375-2142.

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