March 19, 2018 | The Herald Citizen online
Two share stories of Community Options
Since March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, two individuals wanted to share their stories of a local organization that’s dedicated to helping those with disabilities.
Dustin Stewart, 34, of Cookeville has developmental disabilities and reached out to Community Options for help when it first opened its doors here in Cookeville in 2004.
“They help me,” Stewart said.
He used their employment services to get a job through Chartwells Dining at Tennessee Tech University. Now he’s been working at TTU for two years.
“Dustin does a great job,” said Chartwells Director of Operations Glenda Shifflett. “He’s always here and on time. He does whatever task we give him with a smile on his face.”
Dustin’s friend, Diane Howell, 41, also of Cookeville, also has developmental disabilities and is currently using Community Options employment services in hopes of landing a secretary job.
“I can answer the phone, copy, file, hole punch, staple and mail,” Howell said.
Kim England, Employment Coordinator of Community Options, said initially Howell would have a job coach.
“A job coach would help her (Howell) with the task and help her whatever their (the employer’s) expectations are,” England said.
Howell, England, the potential job coach and potential employer would work together establishing expectations for Howell to help her succeed. England added that a job coach would not post as any liability for Howell’s employer, as the job coach would work for Community Options specifically.
“We want all of the individuals we support to provide quality services to their employers,” said Community Options Executive Director Jeanette Preece. “We are proud of those individuals who wants to work and who currently are working.”
Howell also wanted to express her appreciation for those who’ve helped her at Community Options
“They treat us with respect, and we treat them with respect,” Howell said.
Services provided through Community Options include residential services, residential placement, personal assistance, respite, 24-hour supervised home support, part-time home support, social recreation services, community based day program services, in-home day supports, community integrations, independent living skills, employment services, vocational supports and pre-vocational training advocacy.
Cookeville Community Options is at 201 North Oak Avenue Suite B. For information, contact 372-0955.