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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

Pre-ETS program continue assisting local high schools with a virtual curriculum

Pre-ETS program continue assisting local high schools with a virtual curriculum

In response to the dramatic changes in high school operations due to COVID-19, the TVS Pre-ETS team has been working virtually to continue assisting local high school students with job preparation skills.

The TVS Preparation for Employment Success team works with the North Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program to assist students with an IEP or 504 plan in Transylvania and Henderson County High Schools. Since the beginning of the school year, Pre-ETS has worked with each high school to best allow for the easiest and safest collaboration.

TVS Pre-ETS Team Lead Jessica Casey and TVS Pre-ETS Program Specialist Montana White, have been working with almost 160 students in six separate high schools within the two counties via computer screens.

“With the semester being virtual, we have actually been able to meet with classes more often and offer extra help when students need more discussion,” said Casey. All the high schools are organized differently to best accommodate social distancing and health safety. Currently, Pre-ETS teachers are teaching a total of 24 classes and are in the process of adding one more to their schedules.

To best accommodate the virtual world, Pre-ETS teachers have changed their education tactics. In the past Pre-ETS has used games and interactive activities, which are no longer options. Instead worksheets, videos, reflections and discussions have become the daily activities.

“We have been very successful transforming our curriculum for a virtual platform,” said White. “The students are actively participating and fully engaged in our activities.”

The virtual curriculum changes have the Pre-ETS team planning some fun new experiences. Casey and White are in the beginning stages of planning virtual tours of local businesses. The tours will be recorded and posted on the students Google Classroom for students to get an idea of what working in that specific location would be like.

Looking ahead, Casey says, “we are happy and excited to deliver whatever the schools need from us as decisions are made about the Spring semester.”

TVS Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month

TVS Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Brevard, NC (October 6, 2020) – TVS (Transylvania Vocational Services) today announced its participation in 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 “Increasing Access and Opportunity.”

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945 when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Click here to read the full PDF

A Glance at Disability History

A Glance at Disability History

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and to help honor this important month, we invite you to learn more about Disability History. The PDF provides a quick history, educational sources, and resources to continue your own research. 

We invite you to also read more about our celebration of NDEAM.

TVS team tours Gaia Herbs farm

TVS team tours Gaia Herbs farm

A TVS team was welcomed at Gaia Herbs farm for an educational tour of the farm on Aug. 29. TVS has worked with Gaia Herbs for around 15 years, packaging different dry herbal products.

Along with semi-automated filling and packaging of powder and capsule products, TVS also assists Gaia with more hands-on work, including assembling promotional kits. This trip allowed the TVS team a chance to see the starting point of the Gaia Herbs products prior to arriving at TVS for packaging.

“We have an excellent working relationship with Gaia Herbs,” said COO Becky Alderman. “They are a really great company to work with.” A few years ago, Gaia Herbs won the Regional Customer of the Year Award after being nominated by TVS.

“We have given a lot of farm tours this year, but this experience was truly unique,” said Farm Operations Assistant Manager and tour guide Kate Renner. “We focused on the senses of farm, and presented each plant as to how it related to what we saw, felt, smelled, and/or tasted in relation to its impact on our bodies in a simple and direct manner.”

The TVS team was divided into two small groups and took turns exploring the flower and herb garden and enjoying a hayride pulled by a tractor down into the fields.


“My favorite part of the trip was tasting the different herbs that I’ve never tried,” said Taylor. “The Bacopa leaves were my favorite because they were kind of bitter.”

The tour of the garden took the group around the farm house where inside other Gaia employees were seen working and preparing lunch before taking a turn on the hayride.

Exploring the garden and trying new herbs.

“The hayride was fun,” said Andrew. “I was raised on a farm and the hayride brought back memories of my childhood.”

The hayride left from the farm house and transported the team towards the 300 acres of fields. Riding a hayride was a new experience for some members of the TVS team.

Lining the way at the start were Ginkgo and Hawthorn trees planted on either side of the road. Everyone was educated on the different areas of the body that Ginkgo and Hawthorn benefit and also learned that the plant leaves had a similar appearance to the parts of the body it would affect.


Learning about bacopa!

The next stop was the greenhouse, where Bacopa plants filled the entire space. Some participants tried the leaves of the bacopa plant but the sour taste was unanimously agreed that it was not as good as the different herbs from the garden and the pears from the hayride.


Asian Pears were given to each person on the hayride. The fruit is a special type of pear that is similar to an apple in appearance but tastes like a pear. The TVS team also had the option to pick their own straight off the trees near the greenhouse.

At the furthest point on the hayride were the Echinacea fields. The pink flowers were spread across the field with beehives in the distance. Tour guide Renner pulled an Echinacea flower out of the ground by the roots to show where the benefits of Echinacea come from along with explaining the best times to harvest the roots.

The TVS groups reconvened for lunch at the beautifully renovated Gaia herbs farm house. With the two small groups back together, participants from INTERACT and Life Skills were able to say thank you to the Gaia community by performing two songs in sign language, “Bleed the Same” by Mandisa and “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz.

After the performance, everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by Gaia with grilled chicken and veggies freshly grown in their garden.

“We would love to tour the other parts of Gaia that we did not get to see,” said TVS Activities Coordinator Brooke Wilson. “Every single one of our participants received such a superb level of attention and time while we were touring.”

Written by: Jenifer Welch