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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!

‘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

Carla Hill celebrates 15 years at TVS

Carla Hill celebrates 15 years at TVS

“When I first contacted Carla Hill 15 years ago, I wanted her recommendation on who to hire for a new position being created at TVS. I didn’t dream that I could hire her, so the next best thing was her top recommendation,” said former TVS CEO Nancy Stricker. “I thought I had won the lottery when she called me back expressing interest in the job.”

It was a transition period at TVS in 2006. The new job position as Program Manager was created to help transition from state funding to Medicaid funding to support services.

“There were new rules and regulations, and I knew Carla would (and did) lead us through that time in our growth,” said Nancy. She laughed saying, “No matter what changes came, I knew Carla could read it, understand it and explain it to me, thus keeping me from going to jail.”

After 15 years, Carla continues growing and expanding the programs at TVS as the Program Director. When first hired, Carla was in charge of the Life Skills program, the INTERACT program (previously known as ADVP) with individuals working under the 14C contract, and Employment Services. All of these were significantly smaller and have evolved into the programs we have today.

Since being hired, TVS programs have expanded to include two residential facilities in 2010 and branched out into local high schools with the Pre-Employment Transitions Services (Pre-ETS) program in 2019.

Employment Services has developed to support 50 individuals at any given time. One individual has been receiving support of 15 years and another has been successfully employed for 20 years after receiving services from Employment Specialists.

“Carla’s communication and willingness to adjust to VR requirements has helped build a fantastic working relationship,” said Lenora Mathis, Regional CRP Specialist at the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. “She is a great partner to work with and we are lucky to have such a strong leader who knows how to get things done.”

Lenora has been working with Carla over the last 15 years. She said, “As Carla learned about services, she was patient, diligent and always made sure everything she and her staff did for clients was very high quality. Her effectiveness in her job is obvious in the performance of TVS’ VR contract.”

As TVS programs have grown, so has Carla. “I am introverted but I feel like I’ve had to force myself outside of that to be more comfortable,” she said. “I am not good with on-the-spot responses but I have learned that taking my time is important because I need to consider everyone that would be impacted; including individuals served and staff.”

Reflecting on her favorite memories, Carla talks about breaking down the stigma associated with 14C and the growth of the Employment Services within the community. 

“What has been extremely meaningful to me, has been reinventing what we now call INTERACT,” said Carla. “It is all about thinking about the individuals you support, and making sure they are part of the plan.”

Prior to working at TVS, Carla worked in the field of mental health for her entire career. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Master Degree in Social Work and moved around to California and Indiana before relocating back to North Carolina with her two children. 

Carla has a love of theatre, and when she is not working you might find her performing or watching a theatrical performance. She also enjoys walking, hiking and working out at the local CrossFit.

“Carla is a beast at CrossFit and is always motivated to push herself and others at the gym and in her personal life,” said Employment Specialist Megan Pilley. “Carla is always there to support me, whether it is at the gym or in my personal and work life.”

Looking ahead, Carla plans to continue attending webinars to stay up-to-date with rules and regulations and to continue serving more people. She says, “The rest of my career here, I will continue being a ‘servant leader’ and will continue to encourage and help DSP’s and Employment Specialists grow and develop new skills. I want to be a support resource for anyone that needs it.”

 

Celebrating NADSP membership during DSP week

Celebrating NADSP membership during DSP week

Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) has been a member of the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) since 2019. Our membership to the NADSP reflects value in TVS Direct Support Professionals (DSP) as professionals in the field. It is important to maintain a connection with an organization that promotes DSPs.

With National DSP Week coming to an end, TVS wants to give thanks to the hardworking DSPs that keep our Programs and Services thriving. We celebrate DSPs with this special week, but we honor and appreciate them year-round working at the heart of the TVS mission.

“It was important for us to affiliate with an organization that legitimizes the profession, speaks to its significance, and offers accessible information that provides training, support, and standards for this field.  DSPs are not Personal Care Aides, as the current Department of Labor – Standard of Occupational Classification has them classified,” said Program Director Carla Hill. “DSPs are hired to support the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life through the provision of person-centered supports, to make informed decisions, and to support individuals to live the meaningful lives that they choose.”  

The NADSP values the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life through the provision of person-centered supports; with a mission to elevate the status of DSPs by improving practice standards, promoting system reform, and advancing their knowledge, skills and values.

The NADSP provides a code of ethics that sets expectations for DSPs. This is a core of competencies that lists the skill requirements and standardizes of the professional field.

Through this membership, TVS DSPs are also able to participate in trainings and webinars that are specific to working with individuals who live with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Learn more about the NADSP at https://nadsp.org/.

 

DSP Sam King celebrates 10 years at TVS

DSP Sam King celebrates 10 years at TVS

Being a Direct Support Professional (DSP) takes a special kind of person – one that Sam King says must be able to improvise, be flexible, and have resiliency. For the past decade, Sam has demonstrated all of this, all while being dependable and committed to TVS program participants and coworkers.

“Sam is correct about all these traits, and he displays these skills in his work. Nothing is ever unchanging when working with people, and you must be prepared to go with the flow and possibly turn on a dime,” said Program Director Carla Hill. “Sam has definitely developed these abilities in the dynamic environment where we work. He continues sharing his skills and talents to the delight of our participants and his coworkers.” 

Before starting at TVS as an DSP in 2011, Sam worked as a DSP at other agencies in Transylvania County. “I really enjoyed the work and appreciated gaining knowledge about each individual’s personality and hobbies,” Sam said.

“Sam has not only been serving TVS but more importantly the participants in our programs,” reflected Carla. “When he first started at TVS, he had training as an EMT and was also active in the Tennessee National Guard.  He would be called to serve one weekend a month with his unit in Tennessee and two weeks a year somewhere in the US to keep his skills sharp.  You can see why I was excited to bring him on board.”

Sam also volunteered his free time as a first responder in Transylvania County.

Growing up Sam was an active member of the Boy Scouts, earning his Eagle Scout award in 2001. He moved to Brevard from Atlanta, Georgia to attend Brevard College. In 2008, Sam graduated with a degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education (WLEE). “I really wanted to bring these experiences here and share my love of the great outdoors with the INTERACT program,” he said. “I enjoy the ‘real world’ experiences that are provided by us going out in the community and doing so many different activities.”

 

INTERACT Supervisor Jeanette Wayne said, “Sam diligently advocates with participants and strives to enrich their lives with meaningful activities and opportunities. He generously shares his talents and skills, especially in the areas of nature and music.”  

You might see Sam out in the community with INTERACT participants. They could be volunteering at the Transylvania County Animal Shelter, riding horses at Free 

Rein, or just playing some cornhole at the Railroad Depot.

“Sam brings a light-hearted humor to all situations,” said INTERACT Activities Coordinator Brooke Wilson. Brook has worked with Sam for the past 7 years.

“He is an advocate for all people and is a good listener for participants and coworkers,” she continues. “Sam has become more like a family member over the years because he genuinely cares about people and living life.”

Another aspect that Sam brings to the INTERACT program is his love of music. He teaches the music club in INTERACT. “I genre-hop and factor in what club members enjoy to help create the classes,” he said.

Currently, Sam has a newer hobby that involves learning new skills with a turn table.

“Sam is a great worker. I enjoy learning about different styles of music from him. Sam is a great friend and always is here to listen to me,” said INTERACT participant Jay.

Looking ahead, Sam has no plans on leaving the beautiful Brevard area or TVS. His reasons for staying include some of the same reasons that brought him here originally; stable pay, mileage payback, in-house insurances, and more growth opportunities.

And with more opportunities comes growth, even if that takes time. “I am currently a level 3 out of 4 DSP,” he explains. “Getting a level 4 certification will take me awhile because being a DSP is a full-time requirement.”

Reflecting back on the last 10 years Sam says, “I enjoy the challenges that come with the job and continuing to learn new skills. We have a great team of DSP’s and we all have our own skills that we bring to the program.”