employment - T-V-S Overcoming Challenges | Feeding Our World

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

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: https://mountainsunschool.org/

Read in the Transylvania Times

carf logo

TVS joins annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month

TVS joins annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month

carf logo

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 dol.gov/NDEAM.

TVS partnership facilitates Laila Ali spice donation to local food pantries

TVS partnership facilitates Laila Ali spice donation to local food pantries

TVS HR representatives stand beside the organized school supply donations.

Laila Ali Lifestyle spices are freshly stocked at local pantries thanks to a partnership between Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) and Laila Ali. The spices were distributed to the Transylvania County Sharing House and the Asheville Manna Food Bank last week.

“TVS pursues partnerships with brands that want to build relationships,” said TVS Director of Business Development Nan Higgins. “We love watching our partners not only support our mission of employing adults with disabilities but by also collaborating and supporting others in our community.”

A total of 2,592 canisters were donated to the Transylvania County Sharing House and the Asheville Manna Food Bank. Each pantry received 54 boxes containing a mixture of Spicy Pepper, Sassy, and Soulful spice seasonings.

“I have been dedicated to supporting food banks for more than a decade due to my concern for the numerous Americans suffering from hunger. It is a privilege for me to contribute to this cause by donating my Spice Blends to local food banks,” said Laila Ali Lifestyle owner and founder Laila Ali. “By donating these spice blends, I hope to enable families in need to create nutritious meals at home.”

Ali also donated spices to other food pantries located near her home in Georgia.

“We rarely have spices to offer our neighbors. We strive to make it look like a grocery store with options to choose from— items they need and desire,” said Transylvania County Sharing House Executive Director Rev Shelly Webb. “We also love the opportunity to collaborate and prop up each other’s impactful work as organizations seeking to do good work.”

Helping facilitate and deliver the donation, TVS was happy to see the relationship turn into community support.

“TVS’ commitment to supporting their community resonates deeply with me and I am proud to be a part,” reflects Ali. “It was one of the reasons I decided to partner with TVS as well as their prioritization of quality manufacturing practices. Moreover, they actively promote inclusivity by offering employment and support to individuals with disabilities.”

Laila Ali Lifestyle Spices are organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, and non-GMO. To learn more about her brand and products visit: https://lailaali.com/ 

Read it here in the Transylvania Times.

 

TVS HR representatives stand beside the organized school supply donations.
Michael Cook celebrates 20 years at TVS!

Michael Cook celebrates 20 years at TVS!

“I have been working here for 20 years,” smiles Michael Cook, TVS Production Associate. “It feels good to see my name above the microwave.”

A rotating slide deck on the breakroom TV displays company activities, health messages, important dates for employees to remember, and to Michael’s comment – it celebrates employee anniversaries.

“You can’t think of TVS and not think of Michael,” said TVS CEO Jamie Brandenburg. “One of the highlights of my workday is receiving a warm greeting from Michael in his own unique way. Often, his greetings remind me of something that happened years ago—and he describes the event down to the smallest detail.”

He can be found closing cartons, passing boxes down a conveyor belt, quality checking canisters to make sure they are clean before packing them into boxes, and wiping cans before they are filled with Mountain Maid Pancake and Waffle Mix. “I have always worked here,” says Michael. Throughout the years, he has also worked in the TVS Kitchen preparing lunch for employees and cleaning the warehouse space as a Quality Housekeeper.

While Michael is trained in every area of production his favorite product to work with are the almonds and walnuts. In 2017, TVS started packaged nuts for the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, which are sent to U.S. Troops around the world.

“Once he is shown how to do something, he knows exactly what to do and you never have to show him again,” said Production Manager Brian Wilson. “I have worked with Michael for four years and it is never a dull moment with him. I absolutely love it!”

Michael is described as kind, positive, smart, and as a good singer and master at song lyrics.

“Michael has a memory like the Library of Congress,” said Brian. “I enjoy talking music with him because he knows the words to any song.”

While working, you might find him dancing and working to the beat of the music.

Production Associate Joanna Morgan has worked with Michael for the last eight years. “He really is a good singer; much better than me,” she laughed. “He is cheerful and smiley with a positive attitude. Michael always says, ‘good job Joanna’ and then gives me a high-five. He high-fives everyone when the achieve things.”

Michael is a fixture at TVS – to echo his supervisor and coworker, “he is loved by all, and he is one of my favorite people to work with.”

Michael’s fun and kind personality is reflected in his life outside work. He enjoys The Cracker Barrel, Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake, and Michelangelo – the orange Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

When not at TVS, Michael is enjoying the company of his dogs, Apollo and Nova, along with his 4 cats. His other hobbies include watching game shows like The Price is Right and his favorite sitcoms, Three’s Company and The Jeffersons.

Michael also mentioned past adventures at the Mountain State Fair, where he loved to ride the Ferris Wheel and drive Bumper Cars. He has also been involved in the Transylvania County Special Olympics participating in bowling, soccer, swimming, and track and field competitions.

Reflecting over the years, Michael said, “Today has been a great day.”

 

TVS Programs Receive Highest Mark on 2023 CARF Audit

TVS Programs Receive Highest Mark on 2023 CARF Audit

carf logo

TVS recently received a 3-year Accreditation from CARF, International. The accreditation is an indication of TVS’ dedication and commitment to improving the lives of the individuals we serve in our group homes, day programs, and employment services. TVS was reviewed against 1,126 Quality Standards. At that end of the review, there were no recommendations! Now that is something to be proud of!  According to CARF, an accreditation report that identifies no recommendations is achieved in only 3 percent of CARF surveys.

“What an accomplishment,” said Program Director Carla Hill. “This achievement by TVS is the result of many caring and dedicated Direct Support Professionals and Supervisors who believe that helping individuals have the lives they choose is good for the individuals and the community.”

At TVS, CARF evaluates our employment supports, job development, group homes, INTERACT, and Life Skills. The CARF accreditation is an acknowledgement of quality and TVS has been proudly accredited since 1984!

Want to know more about our CARF accreditation?
Click here to view our TVS Programs Monthly Newsletter, In The Loop!