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TVS Self-Advocates join SourceAmerica Grassroots Advocacy Conference

TVS Self-Advocates join SourceAmerica Grassroots Advocacy Conference

Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) is very proud to share that Chase Potts and Kari Hammitt were among nearly 50 individuals selected from across the nation to attend the annual SourceAmerica® Grassroots Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., June 13-16, 2022. Chase and Kari were selected because they are excellent employees and are exceptional at telling their stories!

During the event, they spent four days sharing their employment story and met with members of Congress to advocate for better job opportunities for people with disabilities. Chase and Kari were able to meet with staffers from Congressional offices representing North Carolina, including Congressman Tom Tillis, Congressman Richard Burr and Congressman Madison Cawthorn.

SourceAmerica is a central non-profit agency that works under the AbilityOne Federal Program, a leading job connector for people with disabilities. TVS is a part of the 500-member SourceAmerica non-profit network across the US, that employs 45,000 disabled people.

The SourceAmerica Grassroots Advocacy Conference brought together advocates and nonprofit leaders from across the United States to meet with members of Congress to help shape employment policies. In addition, attendees discussed employment barriers in their communities and how the AbilityOne® Program, one of the largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities, has provided employment opportunities for people with disabilities in their community.

TVS sponsors Cornhole Tournament!

TVS sponsors Cornhole Tournament!

TVS was proud to sponsor the first annual cornhole tournament with the Rotary Club of Brevard. TVS hosted the event on Saturday, June 11 and had eight teams in the competition. Six of the teams were composed of INTERACT participants and Direct Support Professionals and the other two teams were TVS employees. 

The TVS teams included The Cornadoes, The Blue Devils, The Fireballs, Super Women, Thundercats, Rein Free, J & K, and The Replacements.

It was beautiful weather for the double elimination tournament. Food was catered by Hawg Wild BBQ before the final match started. Walking away with trophies was TVS employee team, J & K, James Gardin and Kyle Leahy.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support the Brevard Rotary and TVS INTERACT participants, we hope to do it again!

A decade later and Dan Fisher is stilling hanging in there like a hair in a biscuit

A decade later and Dan Fisher is stilling hanging in there like a hair in a biscuit

It isn’t every day that you get to meet a man who has an affinity for cats and a secret hatred for Mr. Rogers – but at TVS, we have had the pleasure of working beside him for the past 10 years and we are looking forward to many more!

TVS Quality Director, Dan Fisher works to, “ensure that TVS puts out a quality safe product for our customer and consumer. Whoop, there it is.”

It’s hard to not find Dan with a smile on his face. He enjoys providing employment for individuals with disabilities and barriers to employment as well as being able to feed the world with awesome products. “It’s pretty cool,” he says. “I thank the Lord, and thank my blessings for being a part of TVS.”

Dan was hired as the Quality Director in 2012 after, “my wife and I decided it was time for me to come out of retirement,” Dan said with a laugh. His experience in quality grew at Tropicana in Florida, where he worked for 35 years. “I fell in love, had kids, and went to work at Tropicana,” he explained. “I started as a Lab Tech before moving up to the Quality Packaging Manager.”

TVS Quality Director John Safi has heard all the juicy stories about Tropicana, “they beat him to a pulp,” John says with a chuckle.

John has worked with Dan for the past 5 years. “He is a good-hearted guy and a true follower of Christ,” he says. “We have a lot of audits together, and they are more fun with each other. During one, an auditor grabbed Dan’s stress-reliver ball, shaped like a cow, and threw it at me because I kept asking questions. Dan then handed her a Tropicana stress-ball and said, ‘here – you can throw this one too,’ and she did.”

Just like the stress balls being thrown at John, the puns and compliments about Dan – they just keep coming.

Heart of gold, always positive, and “the best supervisor I’ve ever had” are just some of the other kind words coworkers had to say.

Jackie Compton has worked with Dan during his decade at TVS. “One of my favorite stories with Dan is when he was on his hands and knees chasing a fly with an electric fly swatter,” laughs Jackie. “He did get the fly after several hits and some electrical recharges.”

Over the years, Dan has traded this electric fly swatter for an electric bicycle. When not working, he can be found hitting the bike bath with his wife and friends, as well as, camping… or glamping.

Dan shares his smile with everyone around him. His light-hearted humor and extensive list of puns is the highlight of conversation. “Take the time to get to know the people. Life is short, and relationships are important,” he says.

 

Looking ahead, there may be opportunity to see Dan letting his hair down at the next company picnic and maybe beating Jackie again at Cornhole.

I have a million of them,” said Dan thinking back on his memories. “But the overriding theme is all the smiles on employee faces as they come to work.” Over his decade, Dan has seen TVS grow by over a hundred employees.

Brevard used to have less people, less beer, and less bikes. But it’s all behind us now.

As for Dan’s explanation for his aversion to Mr. Rogers, he says, “It’s not a beautiful day in the neighbor, there might be cat fever going around.”

TVS Receives Blue Zones Project Approval

TVS Receives Blue Zones Project Approval

TVS is proud to celebrate becoming a Blue Zone Project Approved Worksite. The ribbon cutting was enjoyed by Blue Zone representatives, TVS Wellness Committee members, and INTERACT participants that join the weekly walking Moai Blue Zones group. 

“TVS is an incredible asset to our community as a worksite of opportunity, care, and devoted employees,” stated Blue Zones Project Organization Lead, Sarah Hankey. “Their community engagement and dedication to the well-being of their staff and families deserves recognition. Blue Zones Project has worked with their leadership for the past year to increase educational wellbeing workshops, provide opportunities to join in community events, and secure a wellness committee that will continue this mission for the life of the organization.”

Read the full article from The Transylvania Times

 

‘No Limits’ Artists Show at TCArts

‘No Limits’ Artists Show at TCArts

TVS ‘No Limits’ artists opens their first art show of 2022 at the Transylvania County Art Council (TC Arts). The exhibit titled, “Across the Land” features drawings, paintings, crafts, and furniture.

The opening reception was held on Thursday, February 24 and will remain open to the public through March 19.

The community is invited to visit TC Arts during gallery hours, Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. TC Arts is located at 349 S. Caldwell St, Brevard.

 

Click here to read the Transylvania Times article

Stricker-Alderman Fund Launched

Stricker-Alderman Fund Launched

In an effort to provide additional support to TVS employees, TVS is proud to implement the Stricker-Alderman Fund. This resource is intended to help those in times of crisis.

The Stricker-Alderman Fund is named in honor of Nancy Stricker, former TVS CEO, and Becky Alderman, former TVS COO, for their long-term commitment to individuals in Transylvania County.

“The Stricker-Alderman Fund is built on the idea that life happens and sometimes all we need is an extra life-line and a helping hand-up when times get tough,” said TVS Employee Support Specialist Kyle Ridgley. “TVS wants to serve its employee’s well and show each employee that we value them. We know that things arise that need extra assistance and having this resource available helps make TVS what it is.”

A recent survey indicated that TVS employees have experienced lack of basic needs in some of the following areas within the last 5 years: housing, transportation, utilities, and medical care. The Stricker-Alderman Fund advances the TVS mission of providing services and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities and other barriers to employment, but it also extends beyond the normal work day and assists employees with basic life needs.

“The Stricker-Alderman Fund was needed at TVS,” said Ridgley. “It all comes back to the Trust, Value, Serve model of TVS. We ‘value’ our mission and you can ‘trust’ us to be by your side as we continue to provide ‘services’ and other avenues of assistances as needed.”

The fund is a taxable event. Individuals can receive one grant per year with a maximum of $3,500.

To be eligible, an individual must be a full-time or part-time employee of TVS and the individual, or an eligible dependent (18 years or younger), must have experienced a qualifying event in the past 90 days. A qualifying event is an event that affects your ability to pay for basic living expenses such as utilities, mortgage/rent, food, or transportation.

Events that might be considered eligible for qualification for the Stricker Alderman Fund could include: a serious illness or injury, unexpected medical or dental visits, death of a family member, extreme circumstances such as homelessness or fire, natural disasters, and others.

The application is completely confidential. Usually, within 10 days of submitting the application, a response will be issued. While not all submissions are guaranteed to result in a grant, all submissions are reviewed on a case by case basis, and if necessary, other local resources/assistance options will be provided.

“I am honored to be able to have the opportunity to partner and support TVS employees,” said Ridgley. Looking ahead, TVS hopes to add to Transportation and Personal Advancement assistance tiers to the fund.

For more information about the Stricker-Alderman Fund or to receive a copy of the application please reach out to Kyle Ridgley at (828) 884-2052 or email strickeralderman@tvsinc.org.