[Photo by Carl Davaz]

From Margaret Theisen, Executive Director:

“Few people in our 68-year tradition have impacted Pearl Buck Center’s Mission like Marie and Ted Baker. Their legacy in our history is unparalleled, having led us through two capital campaigns. The ownership of our current Center without a mortgage is largely due to their passion and commitment, not just to Pearl Buck Center, but our community at large. As first Board and then Emeritus Board Members, they stayed connected as friends and supporters of our organization through decades. The grief of losing them is only bested by the deep love and respect we have for them. Our current Board of Directors speaks to their impact:

“Very sad to lose both Marie and Ted this year. They were great PBC supporters, but so, so much more. They were just great people. And, a great team.”

“Community supporters without peer. Genuinely decent and nice people—unassuming in the extreme.”

” We need many, many more like them! The community is a poorer place for their passing’s.”

To the extended Baker Family, our prayers and appreciation are with you. May your hearts heal quickly and your family relish the profound difference they have made in our community.”

Link to Marie Baker’s Obit

Link to Ted Baker’s obit in the Register Guard:

“Chelsea Werner wasn’t supposed to develop the necessary physical attributes. She wasn’t supposed to get past the most rudimentary level of artistic gymnastics. She wasn’t supposed to show the persistence needed to stick with such a rigorous sport.

Now Werner has one national championship to her credit and is in England this weekend trying to add an international title. Victory or not, a winning message will be on display for those paying attention.” Click here to learn more about Chelsea Werner.

Interested in seeing what is going on with Project SEARCH? Take a look at our newsletters.


‘Round the RiverBend October 2016

‘Round the RiverBend November 2016

‘Round the RiverBend December 2016

‘Round the RiverBend January 2017

‘Round the RiverBend February 2017

‘Round the RiverBend March 2017

‘Round the RiverBend April 2017

‘Round the RiverBend May 2017

‘Round the RiverBend July 2017

‘Round the RiverBend September 2017          

Where are they Now- 2017 RiverBend Graduates

‘Round the RiverBend October 2017

UD Times- October 2017

‘Round the RiverBend November 2017

UD Times- November 2017


PeaceHealth has launched  ProjectSEARCH, a nationally acclaimed employment program for students with autism and related disabilities, and in this case individuals from Pearl Buck Center‘s production facility. This new initiative, which brings together the community, parents, and local business leaders, began in September 2016 and is one of the ways that Pearl Buck Center is answering the governor’s mandate to close sheltered workshops by 2019.

For those unfamiliar with Project SEARCH, it began 18 years ago at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and has grown to over 400 locations worldwide. Through the program, people with developmental and intellectual disabilities will take part in a nine-12 month unpaid internship program. Project SEARCH is based entirely at a host location, such as a hospital, government agency or corporation. With full immersion in the job preparation process, interns gain extensive exposure to and experience in a work environment to ready them for competitive employment.


The program consists of a classroom component and hands-on training. Interns meet Monday through Friday for an hour in the morning and 1/2 hour in the afternoon for classroom instruction. The instructor delivers lessons on topics ranging from Team Building, Workplace safety, Technology, Self-Advocacy, Health & Wellness, Financial Literacy, to Preparing for Employment and Maintaining Employment. The interns then go to various departments in their host business and learn real life transferable job skills. At the end of the day, the interns return to the classroom to debrief and prepare for the next day. The goals of the program are to foster independence and place the interns in paying jobs within the community.


During the program, the interns learn the importance of being responsible and independent by learning how to take public transportation to work and working in an integrated setting. The interns will work together with the instructor and skills trainers on social and communication skills that are critical for a workplace through real like examples and role play as well as preparing for interviewing and keeping a job.

The ProjectSEARCH staff will match intern interests with internship opportunities and monitor intern comfort levels in the workplace and provide supports as needed.

The PeaceHealth ProjectSEARCH program will span September to May, after which Pearl Buck Center job developers will work on placing the interns into community jobs. The admissions process for the next program will begin in April 2017.

This program is especially unique because it creates a systematic bridge between students and in this case the employees of Pearl Buck Center’s production facility, adult service agencies, and community employment. Pearl Buck Center is honored to be the second sheltered workshop in the nation to launch ProjectSEARCH last year (2016). Pearl Buck Center (PBC) and PeaceHealth SarcredHeart Medical Center (PHSHMC) will be working with the Department of Human Services (DHS), Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services (OVRS),  Mentors of Oregon Brokerage (MOB) and Full Access Brokerage (FAB) using the Project SEARCH model to train 10 interns in this first year . For this first program, nine of the interns are from the Pearl Buck Center facility and the tenth intern is a referral from OVRS.

The admissions process, like all aspects of Project SEARCH, follows the criteria and protocol developed by the organization. Because Project SEARCH is a “braided” service model, the admissions committee includes representatives from OVRS and DHS as well as PeaceHealth and Pearl Buck Center staff.

To qualify for participation in the program an individual will need to meet a set of guidelines. The following should be considered; Willing to work and learn on the job, willing to work towards independence including living, transportation and gaining competitive employment. Commit to a 9-month unpaid internship with the intent to participate fully in the program. A person interested will need to be in their final year of school eligibility, or transitioning out of vocational programs, have a verified disability, be 18 years of age or older and have a funding source. The person should also be current on their immunizations and able to provide proof, be able to pass a drug screening and background check, be willing to undergo a 2 tiered TB test and receive the flu shot.

Those interested in more information should talk to their teachers, case managers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and family to make sure this is a good fit for them. Next, attend an open House and ask questions, complete the application in its entirety by the deadline, and wait to hear if you will be asked to participate in the interview process with the ProjectSEARCH Committee.

We will be holding an Information Night, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 6:00 pm- 7:30 pm at Pearl Buck Center – 3690 W. 1st Avenue, Eugene. 

To learn more or obtain an application, please contact Holly Powell – Program Director

(541) 484.4666 ext. 5115 or holly.powell@pearlbuckcenter.com

Click here to learn more about  Project SEARCH

Click here to read Pearl Buck Center’s ProjectlSEARCH brochure ps-brochure


Interested in applying? Fill out an application to begin the process. Please read the application carefully and follow the directions in order to be considered. (HINT:  Ask for assistance if you are not sure and treat the application as if you are applying for a paying job)



Fillable pdf. – ps-candidate-application

Fillable pdf.- ps-assessment-consent-forms

E-mail completed applications to lorie.polk@pearlbuckcenter.com or mail your paper copy to:   Pearl Buck Community Services, 115 W. 8th Avenue, Suite 280, Eugene, OR 97401


Watch where it all started at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDYY2kcqI-0&w=560&h=315]

Oct. 19, 2016 Pearl Buck Center’s Community Employment was featured on our local news channel, KEZI.

Check us out in the link below:


from KEZI:

EUGENE, Ore — Pearl Buck Center continues making a difference in Lane County — empowering people with developmental disabilities.

The nonprofit offers multiple programs including employment opportunities at the Pearl Buck Center production sites and at 49 community businesses.

Jordan Hunt came to the Pearl Buck Center in May of 2016 for job employment assistance.  Pearl Buck assigned Linda Cox as his careeer coach.

“Really just try to listen to the client and see what they want and let them lead the job search,” said Cox.

Cox worked with Hunt to fine-tuned his resume and practice interview skills. Not long after working with a job coach, Hunt landed a part-time job at Mac’s Restaurant and Nightclub in Eugene.

“Number one, we don’t discriminate against anyone. We hire based on what we feel is the right person for the right position. Aces in their places in our motto here.” said Peggy Bruce, Mac’s General Manager.

Currently, 112 clients just like Hunt are enjoying a rewarding job in the community.  Hunt also gets assistance from a Pearl Buck supported living counselor.

“I’m just here to guide him in making the right decisions,” said Brooke Bodewitz.

Bodewitz and Hunt meet twice a week to talk, run errands and simply hang out. Bodewitz is a friend, a counselor, and a big supporter of Pearl Buck  Center.

“I love being able to get out and show our community that people with disabilities can still to every day things just like every other normal person,” added Bodewitz.

Hunt is example that a person with a disability is not defined by their limitations, but rather shaped by their abilities.

“You couldn’t ask for a better job than this,” said Hunt.

– See more at: http://www.kezi.com/news/Pearl_Buck_Center_Helps_Find_Jobs.html#sthash.CitAlyFn.dpuf

Olivia Wilde‘s PSA for people with Down syndrome will give you goosebumps as you watch the actress live her life while a woman with Down syndrome speaks about how she sees herself.

“Vinyl” cinematographer Reed Morano used the actress to show what it’s like to sing, run, and be a daughter, and to show that she is an “ordinary person, with an important, meaningful, beautiful life.”

“I see myself singing, dancing and laughing until I cannot breathe,” says the voiceover. “And also crying sometimes. I see myself following my dreams even if they are impossible.”olivia-wilde-down-syndrome-psa

We then see AnnaRose Rubright, a 19-year-old woman with Down syndrome, who has been speaking the whole time.


“This is how I see myself,” Rubright asks the camera, “How do you see me?”

In an interview with the Washington Post, Rubright said the commercial reflected something she has suffered her entire life — feeling like she wasn’t “regular.”

“It makes me feel sad and disappointed,” she said. “I’m not treated with respect and I’m not treated as if I’m important.”

According to the Post, there are an estimated 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States. The advertisement was put together by the organization Coordown, an Italian organization.

See the video below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhCEoL1pics&w=560&h=315]

Source: The Wrap http://www.thewrap.com/olivia-wildes-down-syndrome-psa-will-give-you-goosebumps-video/

As many local companies continue to struggle with developing consistently strong workforces, many organizations and agencies are working to place individuals with both intellectual and developmental disabilities in jobs where they can make the most impact. At the same time hoping to break down barriers and change perceptions about these individuals.

For the majority of us, it can be an arduous process finding something that interests us enough to pursue a job let alone a career. And no one really guides us along through the process, yet for the most part, we are able to maneuver through the journey of learning what we are good at and finding work.

So how do people with disabilities find work in the community or learn how to navigate through life? Where do they learn what they are interested in and learn the skills necessary for gainful employment?

 Within Our Community…

Community Transition Program

Youth Transition Program

This program is designed to help students overcome barriers to employment and learn to compete in the world of work. It is unique because it combines the education services of  School Districts with the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services and community employers.

Each student is assessed and then helps to develop their own Individual Plan of                       Employment. Students participate in career exploration activities and may also work on campus in the student-run YTP Bakery or gardens to develop the transferable skills necessary before they start working in the community.

is a comprehensive transition program for youth with disabilities operated collaboratively by Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR), the Oregon Department of           Education (ODE), the University of Oregon (U of O), and local school districts statewide in Oregon.

The purpose of the program is to prepare youth with disabilities for employment or career-related post-secondary education or training.

          YTP was initially developed in seven high schools in 1990 under the auspices of a                   federal grant. The program currently operates in approximately 120 high schools in              Oregon and is funded through a combination of state and local funds from participating education and rehabilitation agencies. VR contracts with a team from the U of O to provide training and technical assistance to school and rehabilitation personnel statewide.

All current contracts with local school districts are “performance based”. This means that funded YTP sites have to meet certain performance benchmarks targeted at entering the VR system, development of an individual plan for employment (IPE), and being “engaged” (i.e. in employment or training or some combination of employment and training) upon exiting the YTP pattern of service. Meeting these benchmarks influences future funding decisions for any particular site. Funding is available on a               biennial (i.e. every 2 years) basis and funding decisions are influenced by how YTP                  sites perform towards meeting their benchmarks. For more specifics about benchmarks, documents are attached below that will help you understand performance benchmarks more clearly.

The pattern of Services:

The YTP provides services to youth beginning during the last two years of high school and continuing into the early transition years after leaving high school. All students in the program receive a comprehensive pattern of service designed to address a broad array of transition need. These services, which are similar to the CTP program include:

  •    Individualized planning, focused on post-school goals and self-determination, and    help to coordinate school plans with relevant community agencies
  •    Instruction in academic, vocational, independent living, and personal social skills        and help to stay in and complete high school
  •    Career development services including goal setting, career exploration, job search        skills, and self-advocacy
  •    Emphasis on paid employment such as connections with local employers,                        development of school-based businesses, on the job assessment and training
  •    Support services such as individualized mentoring and support or referrals for              additional specific interventions
  •    Follow-up supports for one year after leaving the program to assist in maintaining positive outcomes in employment or postsecondary settings.

NOTE: All YTP students become clients of OVRS, but a young adult with a disability that is an impediment to employment does not have to be served by YTP in order to become a client of OVRS.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJgzJ60jzVE&w=560&h=315]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ77kD-l4_I&w=420&h=315]


Project SEARCH is an immersion model and it encourages participants to interact with peers to get the full work experience, including eating lunch and taking part in any other employee activities.

This program is working to break the barriers around young people with disabilities entering the workforce and providing them with internship opportunities that are resulting in full and part-time employment.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj-QBrAwdUA&w=560&h=315]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa9YfVvt9dg&w=560&h=315]

The Erskine-Green Training Institute

          This program located in Indiana is designed for individuals whose academic, social,                communication and adaptive skills are affected due to a disability. Most applicants                would have received special education services in the K-12 setting and exited their                  secondary school with a diploma, GED or certificate of completion. EGTI is a                              certificate program (not an accredited college degree program). Participants may                    also earn additional industry recognized certifications depending upon the program              selected. Our Curriculum at the beginning of each training session, students receive              instruction on topics within health and wellness as well as other life skills such as                  using public transportation. All training sessions are broken down into sequential                  units that are individually taught during classroom and lab time. Once students have            shown proficiency in a unit, job; shadowing and hands-on opportunities are                            scheduled for those skills. Skills build upon one another until students have                              mastered the entire job. At this point, internships begin. They train and intern in                  either the hotel, Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co., or IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital                while completing their program. Internship hours and work readiness skills are the              focus during the last month of each training session. Classroom time is scheduled                  around internship hours. Work readiness topics include a variety of job search,                        acquisition, and retention skills, and interpersonal and personal quality skills                          necessary for employment. No more than 20 students are accepted in any session.                  Current Programs Ranging in length between nine and 13 weeks, students have a                    choice of vocational training including; Front Desk Agent and Heart of House in a                    hotel, Patient Transporter, Environmental Services and Dietary Services in a                            hospital, or Prep Cook, Dishwasher, Server Assistant and Host in a restaurant. More              programming is in development for the future.

The hotel is operated for profit. Profits are used to support EGTI and other initiatives of The Arc of Indiana.  Approximately 20% or greater of the jobs within the hotel and its restaurants are held by individuals with disabilities. EGTI and the hotel are next to the Horizon Convention Center.

This project clearly provides a resource for Indiana businesses to successfully hire and maintain employees with disabilities.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkKgqf9LFZA&w=560&h=315]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HyhAzf7OFw&w=560&h=315]

These are some of the options young people with a disability can utilize to bridge that gap from high school to the working world. Entering post-secondary education is another route this population can also participate in and some do.

Ultimately, the more experiences young people with disabilities have the more confidence they gain and the better their chances of landing a good job that fits their abilities and skill-set become.

If you are looking for an employee that has a positive attitude, enjoys staying busy, and is excited to learn new tasks, Adrian Cracknell is the man to hire!
Adrian has many years’ experience at his family’s dog rescue, doing a wide variety of tasks including; administering medication, providing treatment to sick and injured animals, Operating facility laundry, disinfecting, cleaning and organizing pens and stables.

Adrian also has valuable experience operating a cash register, preparing food, and greeting customers. This experience will prepare Adrian for his dream job, working at a movie theater. Adrian is a huge movie buff and is always at the theater watching new releases, and envying the employees who have the coolest job in the world! Marc Anthony said, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” and that goal will absolutely be achieved once Adrian is employed at a theater.

Adrian’s future employment isn’t limited to working in a movie theater. He’s a talented guy who would be great in many positions. Customer service, retail, food service, and even housekeeping are jobs Adrian could really strive in. Any job relating to talking to people, and Adrian will be in his element. His upbeat personality and infectious charisma will add a certain sparkle to any company’s morale. Give Adrian a chance and he will prove to be one of your most valuable employees!

AAdrian poster (1)

If you desire an employee who will thoroughly enjoy every minute of his job, feel free to call 541-543-3507 or email adriancracknell89@gmail.com to set up an interview. Thank you!


We talk a lot about hiring people with disabilities not just because it’s our mission and we believe it’s the right thing to do, but because we know from first-hand experience that it Works! All it takes is one small act of being willing to investigate what it will entail and how it might work for your organization. Before you know it you will have created a ripple effect.

Klynt started out in our production area where he worked in the Pearl Buck Center metal room then moved up to the janitorial crew, and then when he was ready he moved out into a community job working at Fuller Cabinet as a shop clean up person and now he is making cabinets.

James, came to us looking for work, we put him to work on our janitorial crew, where he has some responsibilities. He drives and often fills in at several locations and has also been doing temporary work in our postal department.

Aaron had been working at a pizza shop for quite a few years and wanted to do something different. We found a place for him on our janitorial crew where he is thriving, making friends and feels valued.

Lyndon had been working at Dari Mart for several years when it became too hard for him to keep up, but he wasn’t ready to retire so he came to our janitorial crew. and put in another few years before he retired.

Kelly came to us seeking work and we placed her in our very own Community Services department as an administrative assistant, where she has been challenged to learn and try new things.

Nicole, Molly, and Courtney all  were interested in child care. After doing assessments and showing that they could perform the job of Teacher’s assistant, the Pearl Buck Preschool hired them on.

Chris was desperate to find a job so he could support his daughter, we placed him in a dishwashing position with the now defunct Eagles Lodge on Irving Road. When he came back to us seeking work again, we put him to work as a delivery driver.

Julian was referred to us by Vocational Rehabilitation. We found him a community job, but after doing an assessment in our LEAP department it was clear that he has an aptitude with the people that we serve and we found him a place on our Community Placements team as well, working as a job coach.

So you can see we have hired people to fill a variety of positions within our very own walls, where they are working as part of a team, thriving, and earning a minimum wage paycheck. There are more individuals with disabilities on our payroll that I could list. Each person filling a real need that  Pearl Buck Center has experienced as a result of our continued growth

We have been successful in hiring people experiencing disabilities and have supported them to excel at the work that they do. This makes us better equipped to teach others on how to best implement people with disabilities into a workplace. We know first hand what it takes to succeed. Contact us, we can help you figure out how your business can do the same.  community.employment @pearlbuckcenter.com

You never know how one small act, of hiring someone with a disability can affect your community.