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TVS DSP Carolyn Trapp celebrates 15th anniversary!

TVS DSP Carolyn Trapp celebrates 15th anniversary!

Residential Direct Support Professional (DSP) Carolyn Trapp is celebrating her 15th anniversary at TVS! “Carolyn has brought us a wealth of knowledge and lived experience,” said Carla Hill, TVS Programs Director. “She is a dedicated and loyal TVS employee. She has shared her compassion with us for 15 years and I hope she will be with us for 15 more!”

Carolyn taught K-8 Special Education (Varied Exceptionalities) in Alabama before joining the TVS team. Over the years, Carolyn has worked as the Resident Manager of Tanjer House and Fisher Road Group Home, been a provider [DSP] for residents in Supported Living, as well as working as a full-time, part-time, and as a PRN employee.

Throughout all her different career positions at TVS, Carolyn most enjoys working with residents’ families. “They are great, and I understand where they are coming from,” says Carolyn. “I have a brother in a group home in Florida and I want to give others, what I also want my brother to experience in life.”

Carolyn is credited for fostering the bond between the different group homes. She organized hangouts so the residents could visit with others for holidays or special events. The BBQs, picnics, and hangouts are still a favorite among residents. Many of the home residents commented that Carolyn “is a good cook” and that “she is good, polite, and caring.”

“I am blessed to have found TVS,” reflects Carolyn. “I have made close friends with those who work here, and this job has kept me young. It has broadened my horizons and got me out into the community more than I would have been otherwise.”

Thinking back over the last 15 years, Carolyn remembers the first Night to Shine Prom held at the Rec Department. “It was amazing to see everyone celebrated and experience a great evening,” she said.

Carolyn has done it all! – Special Olympics, group vacations to Myrtle Beach, and surprise goth band concerts. “Tanjer was set up to go to a concert at the Orange Peel in Asheville one weekend, years ago,” laughs TVS Residential Coordinator Lynn Brewer. “Carolyn had no idea who they were going to listen to but when they got there it was a goth band.” Surprised by the music genre, Carolyn and the residents walked down the street to a sport bar where they ate peanuts and watched games on the TVs.

Lynn also bragged about Carolyn’s different charts and visual aids that are used by residents to help keep track of which DSP will be there, daily chores, and other aspects in the homes that are constantly changing. “She is very thorough and organized,” says Lynn. “One of her best qualities is helping individuals find their strength and letting them shine!”

Friend and TVS DSP co-worker, Karen Benson, echoes her strengths. “She always comes up with ideas for the best for residents such as techniques for life skill building and her calming demeanor always makes residents feel safe,” said Karen. “Carolyn is one of the most compassionate and caring people I know.”

When not working, Carolyn enjoys watercolor, gardening and getting outside whenever she can, as well as watching her three grandsons.

“I would like to bring more gardening and growth in the community homes,” said Carolyn. “I simply enjoy going through life together with the residents and nurturing their souls.”

Carolyn laughs, “I thought I was coming here for a couple of years, now it’s been 15 years. My wise words of advice would be to ‘just chill’ – take a breath and let things be what they are. It will all be okay.”

Brian Wilson Receives NCSE Management Excellence Award

Brian Wilson Receives NCSE Management Excellence Award

In honor of National Disability Pride Month, we are highlighting TVS Production Manager Brian Wilson for his NCSE Management Excellence Award. He accepted his award at the recent SourceAmerica XForce Conference in May 2024 for his contributions to providing an inclusive work environment for individuals with disabilities.  

Wilson says it best in his acceptance speech, “There are very few times in life where you are where you’re supposed to be and you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and this is that time for me. The mission that we serve, the people that we serve – they don’t work for me, I work for them.”

The NCSE Management Excellence Award celebrates individuals who have displayed excellence in leadership in the management of an AbilityOne participating nonprofit agency and significantly advanced employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“I am genuinely honored to receive this award. My job at TVS has been the most rewarding thing that I have ever been involved with and it makes this [award] even more special,” reflects Wilson.

National Disability Pride Month is a time to reflect on disability rights and focuses on finding new ways to celebrate and support individuals with disabilities year-round. Thanks to Wilson’s dedicated work, TVS is a more inclusive and thriving work environment.  

“Mr. Wilson is a creative and innovative visionary, consistently demonstrating his ability to envision new possibilities and strategies that drive success for both disabled and non-disabled employees,” said TVS Director of Public Affair and Advocacy Leca Diehl. “Through his cross-training program, he has not only enhanced efficiency and capacity, but he has also provided all employees with valuable skills that enrich their professional portfolios. Brian’s commitment to the growth of employees’ skills and personal development is truly admirable; actively seeking ways to empower colleagues and team members to reach their full potential.”

Video and images courtesy of SourceAmerica.

TVS & Mountain Sun Community School Partnership Highlighted for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

TVS & Mountain Sun Community School Partnership Highlighted for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

In honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and its annual campaign highlighting how people with and without disabilities come together to form strong communities; Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) is proudly celebrating our community partnership, “Reading Buddies,” with Mountain Sun Community School.

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) 2024 theme, “A World of Opportunities” aims to raise awareness about inclusion of people with Developmental Disabilities (DD) in all areas of community life and reminds us to explore the work still needed to remove barriers.

TVS and Mountain Sun Community School have been working together since 2018 with the Reading Buddies program. “This partnership helps the TVS participants learn leaderships skills, along with helping the students and participants to have relationships with others that are not paid service providers,” said TVS DSP Ashleigh Alquiza. “When you look at communities and individuals with DD, there is a critical divide that sometimes separates rather than includes them. Reading Buddies is helping bridge that gap.”

Participants join students every other Friday for reading and literacy activities. Each group ranging from five to six students plus a TVS participant showcase creativity by creating skits, crafts, songs, and dances to accompany the readings.

“Through our adventures with Mountain Sun Community School we have grown, gained confidence, and made some lifelong friendships,” said TVS INTERACT Supervisor Brooke Wilson. “A true partnership is about people listening to one another and working together to accomplish a common goal. Each person contributes in their own unique way and with respect and learning for all.”

This partnership offers TVS participants opportunities to develop leadership skills while encouraging long lasting relationships in an inclusive and mutually benefiting environment. 

“Our class reading lessons are far more engaging with our [TVS] Reading Buddies here,” said Brigid Cameron, Mountain Sun Community School Teacher. “Concepts such as literal and figurative, inferring, setting, or plot are the main focus for our morning lessons, but the real learning is about working with diversity.”

The benefits of this community partnership stretch past the immediate benefits of reading and literacy. Each individual and student is developing self-advocacy skills, gaining confidence, and creating problem-solving skills with life-long friendships.

“I have seen children grow more comfortable with diversity, engage more fully with new people and guests, and their creativity and openness expand,” reflected Cameron. “Having a break from our Reading Buddy program during COVID impressed upon me the need we all have to embrace the beautiful friendships we have created with our class and our friends who learn with us every other Friday.”

Mountain Sun Community School holistically nurtures, challenges, and guides each unique child to discover academic skills using Montessori principles, explore the natural world, create through self-expression, and belong to a collaborative, diverse, and peaceful community. We invite you to learn more at:

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TVS Participants ‘Bake for Good’ with King Arthur Baking Company

TVS Participants ‘Bake for Good’ with King Arthur Baking Company

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Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) participants from INTERACT spent last Friday morning learning how to bake scones from scratch with the King Arthur Bake for Good program thanks to the recent partnership between TVS and King Arthur Baking Company.

“Baking is a wonderful way to connect with others,” said Bake for Good Program Manager Amy Driscoll. “We were thrilled to have a chance to meet some of our TVS partners and share our love of baking.”

Bake for Good is King Arthur Baking Company’s free outreach program with the main goals to learn, bake, and share. TVS participants practiced math and science skills while making scones from scratch.

They learned to measure dry ingredients, mix in butter, and were able to customize their scones with either blueberry jammy bits or cinnamon.

“Even our participants that don’t like to get their hands dirty were kneading and working the butter and flour mixtures like champs,” said TVS INTERACT Supervisor Brooke Wilson. “Working with King Arthur crew was a wonderful experience – everyone was kind, helpful, and inclusive.”

Each baker made half a dozen scones to enjoy later and share with family and friends. After the event, the INTERACT team was able to keep the extra baking supplies to support their baking club at TVS.

“The Bake for Good event was a great way to show how business and mission can be even more interconnected,” said TVS VP of Business Development and Marketing Beth Rich. “Having King Arthur as a partner is a benefit to TVS and our community in so many different ways, and we could not be happier working with them.”

Looking ahead, King Arthur Baking Company will be in the Greenville area from November 2 – December 22 for their pop-up store and has plans to continue teaching the Bake for Good program in schools across Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.

TVS joins annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month

TVS joins annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month

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Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) today announced it is joining the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Advancing Access and Equity.”

The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945, when it started as a week and focused only on people with physical disabilities. Later, it expanded to a full month, and its name and scope evolved to acknowledge the importance of increasing the workforce inclusion of people with all nature of disabilities.

“TVS is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said Beth Rich, TVS VP and Business Development and Marketing. “We want to spread the important message that we value all perspectives, including those of individuals with disabilities not only in the month of October, but year-round.”

Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month, TVS will be educating employees on disability employment issues and its commitment to an accessible and equitable work culture.

“National Disability Employment Awareness Month reminds us of the valued contributions people with disabilities make in our nation’s workplaces, and the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 marks a major milestone in our nation’s ongoing quest to advance access and equity for all Americans,” said Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn M. Williams. “So, from now through October, we will be exploring the act’s impact on everything from employment to community living to non-discrimination to accessible technology.”

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages—during October and throughout the year—by visiting