Jenifer Welch, Author at T-V-S Overcoming Challenges | Feeding Our World | Page 2 of 10

COVID-19 Info Center: - Click to view TVS policies & other helpful resources

A ‘PAW’-fect donation drive benefiting the shelter animals.

A ‘PAW’-fect donation drive benefiting the shelter animals.

In another successful donation drive, Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) spent the last couple of weeks collecting food, treats, and toys for the Transylvania County Animal Shelter.

“We chose to donate to the Animal Shelter because of the pandemic causing a high rate of displaced animals and people in need,” said TVS HR Administrative Assistant Kayde Hopkins. “Because of this we felt a great need to help the shelter meet their demands with donations of food and toys.”

TVS employees donated over 330 pounds of kibble for cats and dogs, 243 cans of wet food, 94 toys, and 74 bags of treats! Other items such as pet beds, food and water dishes, leashes, dog collars and cat litter were also donated.

“This is why we do what we do, it is to help our community and to help the animals,” said Transylvania County Animal Shelter Manager Sara Laboe. The shelter is always accepting donations but has not seen this magnitude of contribution in the past.

Over the past year, the pandemic left individuals in hard places and the animal shelter began offering free cat and dog food to anyone who needed the assistance. “We don’t want anyone to have to surrender a pet because of the hardships brought on by the pandemic,” said Laboe.

Last year’s quarantine also affected the shelter. At the height of the pandemic, the shelter was closed to the public with only staff taking care of the animals and an available animal control officer when needed in the community. As the county began to open, the shelter adjusted and began adopting animals out by appointment.

As restrictions continue to loosen, the shelter is open to anyone looking to adopt and has welcomed back TVS INTERACT participants who enjoy volunteering to help with the shelter cats and dogs.

Since the beginning of 2021, the shelter has rescued and adopted out an average of 100 animals a month and as restrictions began to lift the shelter is back operating on a more normal schedule.

This is TVS’ first donation in 2021, but is expecting more donation drives to offer more opportunities for employees to give back to the community. TVS began ramping up donation events as a way to give back to the local community affected by the pandemic.

For their contributions to the donation drives, TVS employees are rewarded with raffle tickets to win gift cards to other local businesses. This donation drive included prizes for O.P. Taylors, Downtown Chocolates, Elements Spa, Rockin’ Bowl, and the Co-Ed Theatre.

At the end of last year, TVS donated food and clothing to the Life Changers Outreach located in Pisgah Forest and filled over 50 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child to be distributed worldwide.

To learn more about the shelter please visit


Community partnerships work together in supporting local children during pandemic

Community partnerships work together in supporting local children during pandemic

TVS has been assisting with the delivery of meals from Brevard High School to the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club and the Boys & Girls Club’s Teen Center in an effort to help the community navigate the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Boys & Girls Club was providing an average of 75 meals a day at the beginning of the school year in August 2020 and is now providing over 100 meals a day to children. In the past, the Boys & Girls Club has been able to provide the needed transportation, but this school year presented different challenges.

When TVS was asked if they could provide any assistance, there was no hesitation.

“We have all been going through challenging times with the pandemic,” said TVS CEO Jamie Brandenburg. “While the challenges may be different for each individual or organization, the fact remains that these are unprecedented and difficult times for us all.”  

TVS employee, Daniel Rothe has been driving a TVS company van to deliver nutritious meals prepared at Brevard High School to the children at the Boys & Girls Club. This service is helping to continue a sense of normalcy and balance while contributing to healthy lifestyles for local children.

“This has been a huge blessing for us and helps in continuing our mission in the community,” said Sarah St Marie, Executive Director at the Boys & Girls Club. “It’s neat and encouraging to see how our community has come together during this pandemic.”

Historically, this food assistance program was only available to students whose parent’s income allowed for qualification. However, the impacts of COVID-19 have lessened restrictions of qualification allowing all students a free, nutritious meal during school hours. The Boys & Girls Club began supporting lunch for all the children at the center, along with the normal snack and dinner meals that were previously provided.

Looking forward, local middle and high school students are on track to be back on Plan A, a more full-time on-site schedule, after spring break. As the local school system continues to adjust and best accommodate, Rothe continues to provide the food transportation service as needed.

“It is rewarding,” said Rothe. “I love being able to give back to the community.” As long as there is a need in food transportation from the high school to the Boys & Girls Club, TVS is happy to be providing a helping hand.

“We must remember that we aren’t alone and being able to work together with each other’s strengths makes us all stronger,” said Brandenburg. “This is exactly what the partnership between TVS, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Transylvania County Schools has done.”

TVS Artists continue statewide success!

TVS Artists continue statewide success!

Brevard, NC (March 15, 2021) – Program participants at Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) have been selected as featured artists in the Art Unblocked 2021 exhibit for the second year in a row!

“The TVS artists were very excited about submitting their artwork to the Art Unblocked show. They welcome any opportunity to share their art with others, but this show offered the additional benefits of a much larger virtual audience,” said INTERACT Supervisor Jeanette Wayne. “It means a great deal to the artists to see their work displayed alongside other talented artists from all over the state. Seeing their biographies added a personal touch to the exhibition.”

Art Unblocked is a part of Arts Access’ A Series of Fortunate Events (SOFE) located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Arts Access is NC’s only non-profit organization dedicated solely to making the arts accessible to children and adults with disabilities.

This year, three TVS program participants had submitted artwork accepted into the exhibit.

“My art makes me feel happy and joyful inside,” said Amber reflecting on her work titled, The Art of Sunshine.

“Putting my art in the show means a lot to me.  It made me feel good,” said Andrew. His work, Bach in D Minor, shows three colorful flowers and reminds him of springtime and dandelions.

NBC Peacocks by Kristen features two glittery peacocks. She said, “I painted the NBC Peacocks for my mom because she used to work as an assistant manager at NBC in New York City. I could feel my mom’s presence in my heart as I painted. I would do anything for her.” 

Click here to read the full PDF or to view the Transylvania Times article.

A Virtual ‘Night to Shine’ 2021

A Virtual ‘Night to Shine’ 2021

The 17th annual Night to Shine prom was held on February 12. In contrast to previous years, it was a virtual experience that live-streamed for 40 minutes.  It may not have been the traditional version of the event, but it was still a night to remember for all TVS supported residents.

Historically, Night to Shine is an evening for dressing to the nines with tiaras and bow ties. However, this year TVS supported residents decided to celebrate in their pajamas! A fun twist on the evening.

Residents also spent the evening with their housemates recreating the menu from last year’s Night to Shine, which included chicken sandwich sliders, fruit/vegetable trays, cookies, and bags of popcorn that were filled and decorated.

The virtual prom greeted viewers with paparazzi and a red carpet that welcomed everyone to their special night. Tim Tebow and his wife, Demi-Leigh, hosted the event and there were cameos from several celebrity guests.

This year was the first ever “Night to Shine” dance lead by Demi-Leigh Tebow. She uploaded sneak peeks of the dance moves ahead of time to teach participants. This dance allowed for all prom attendees to dance together in unison across the globe.

Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs (ages 14 and older) that is “centered on God’s love.” Hundreds of thousands of individuals come together from all over the world to honor and serve those with disabilities. You can learn more at


TVS celebrates International Day of People with Disabilities

TVS celebrates International Day of People with Disabilities

TVS is celebrating International Day of People with Disabilities! This year, IDPWD is focusing on bringing awareness to Invisible Disabilities with the 2020 theme: “Not All Disabilities Are Visible.”

The campaign is spreading awareness and information on invisible disabilities to help fight the stigma and discrimination still associated with these disabilities.

They can include mental illness, sight or hearing impairments, cognitive dysfunctions, and more.

We invite you to learn more about people with disabilities, both visible and invisible, at


For voice recognition accessibility, the following text duplicates the information on the infographic. 
  • 15% of the world’s population is living with a disability
    • This is more than 1 billion people
  • 450 million people live with mental or neurological conditions
  • 2/3 of these individuals will not seek professional help
    • In part due to stigma, discrimination, and neglect
  • Some disabilities may not be immediately apparent, including:
    • Mental illnesses
    • Chronic pain and fatigue
    • Sight and hearing impairments
    • Diabetes
    • Brain injuries
    • Neurological disorders
    • Learning differences
    • Cognitive dysfunctions
  • Every year: 69 million individuals are estimated to sustain Traumatic Brain injuries
  • Every year: 1/160 children are identified as on the autism spectrum
  • “A reminder of the importance of removing barriers for all people living with disabilities, both visible and invisible.”
  • Source: The International Day of People with Disabilities
  • Data from: The World Health Organization (WHO)
  • #NotAllDisabilitiesAreVisible #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs