I love infographics, maybe because of the use of color, icons and interesting information presented in an often fun and visually pleasing way, that doesn’t take away from the point that is being presented. Here are a few that I found that fill the bill on all accounts. Learning-Disabilities-infographic8093260101

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Direct support professionals (DSPs) are people who work directly with people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities with the aim of assisting the individual to become integrated into his /her community or the least restrictive environment.

These people are responsible for providing direct support, positive direction, and assistance to individuals. They provide supports to people by assisting in the development and implementation of all support plans, including spiritual life supports, assisting people in achieving their personal goals and desires, providing interaction and choices for activities that support a meaningful day, and supporting people to be independent in activities of daily living.


DSPs assist people with maintaining a clean, safe and orderly home by following safety and infection control procedures and  educating people about maintaining their homes. They may also assist people with fiscal management while safeguarding their funds. This may include completing ledgers, reconciling accounts and assisting people with spending choices. They ensure that people exercise their rights and that rights are not restricted without legal fairness, ensuring that people are treated with dignity and respect.

Direct support professionals may also be responsible for assisting and supporting  individuals with obtaining and keeping jobs in the community.

At Pearl Buck Center, all of our direct support professionals receive training and those of us in the Community Department and specifically in job development related positions are Certified employment support professionals.

Our direct support professionals are ready to assist with the needs of our clients whether it be at home, in the community or on the job.

But we don’t stop there, we are also committed to assisting businesses in the community. We are happy to come in and help companies identify areas where our eager job seekers can come in for a few hours a day and lighten the workload of the other employees.

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And when it comes to work in the community, Pearl Buck Center is  facile at bridging the gap between employee and employer. We live for it!

So whether you are looking for a little extra support in your day to day living or in your business, think- Pearl Buck Center. Let us know how we can assist you…because who couldn’t benefit from a little extra support, right?



Check out our new little animated commercial…


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5jtCj35-RU&w=560&h=315]

I came across this article and found it to be very illuminating. I’m lifting the entire article to read here but have linked it to the original site. Let me know what you think….

Why It Pays to Hire Workers with Developmental Disabilities

by John Kregel

Available formats:    PDF



EDITORIAL Scenario 1: Michael was recently hired by a local restaurant operated by a major national chain. A local supported employment agency provided a job coach to assist him in learning to do the job. On Michael’s first day of work, the district manager made a surprise visit to the restaurant. After questioning Michael’s immediate supervisor about him, the manager directed the supervisor to fire him on the spot, stating, “We don’t need those kinds of people working for the company” (Miller, 1999). The supervisor refused to fire Michael and attempted to contact the company’s public relations director. The company never responded, and the supervisor ultimately quit in protest of the company’s decision. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed an Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) lawsuit on Michael’s behalf.

Scenario 2: Emily works as a dining room attendant in a local fast-food restaurant. She greets customers, removes trays, and keeps the dining room clean and neat. Emily has a job coach, but the restaurant’s assistant manager taught her to do her job. The restaurant’s regular customers speak to her every day and ask about her when she misses work. The district manager knows her by name and has featured her in local advertising campaigns. When asked about this, the district manager says, “Emily represents the message our company wants to send to the customers in this area-friendly, courteous, hardworking employees.”

Scenario 3: Jack was a courtesy clerk for a local grocery store, assisting customers by carrying their groceries and placing them in their cars. Jack has Tourette syndrome, which causes him to occasionally speak loudly and inappropriately to customers. During his first two weeks on the job, several customers complained to the store’s manager, saying that Jack had made “rude and offensive” comments to them. At the same time, a number of Jack’s co-workers approached the manager, saying that they found him to be hardworking and sociable. They indicated that Jack’s inappropriate vocalizations were beginning to decrease as he became less anxious on the job. Other customers commented to the store manager that Jack was helpful and friendly. The manager, however, felt that he had to terminate Jack immediately and refused to request assistance from the local supported employment agency, saying, “We shouldn’t have to teach someone not to make crude remarks.”

Scenario 4: Charles is a young man with autism who has worked as a courtesy clerk for a grocery store in his neighborhood for the past 3 years. When he first started this job, he had a tendency to ask customers extremely personal questions while taking their groceries to their automobiles. By the end of his second day, six different customers had registered complaints and his job seemed in jeopardy. However, the store manager himself had a brother with autism and as a result was sensitive to Charles’s situation. For the next 2 weeks, the manager and a job coach spent 2 hours with Charles each day, modeling appropriate interactions with customers and introducing him to his co-workers. As a result of the manager’s intense involvement, Charles survived his shaky start and became a “model employee,” a favorite of the customers and co-workers alike.

Over the past quarter-century, advocacy efforts on the part of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have led to the passage of new legislation, the design of new program alternatives, and a significant increase in expenditures in employment programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. These efforts, coupled with significant changes in our nation’s economy and improvements in societal attitudes, have dramatically increased employment opportunities for individuals who previously had been excluded from the economic life of their communities. The four scenarios described above are all based on recent real-life situations. For Emily, Charles, and hundreds of thousands of other individuals with developmental disabilities, legislative, economic, and social changes have opened the doors to competitive employment for people who previously were unable to access and maintain employment. Heightened expectations on the part of consumers and their families, increased use of modern service technologies such as supported employment, and newly emerging business trends that value workforce diversity have enabled many individuals with developmental disabilities to overcome artificial barriers that heretofore had limited their access to employment.

Unfortunately, far too many individuals continue to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles when attempting to pursue their dream of a rewarding, self-chosen career. Stereotypic employer attitudes and outright employment discrimination, such as that faced by Michael in the scenario above, still deny many individuals with developmental disabilities the chance to show their skills and abilities. Equally unfortunate are those situations in which an employer is willing to provide an employment opportunity to an individual, but lacks the confidence or awareness of the support resources that will enable that opportunity to be successful. The cases of Jack and Charles, described above, illustrate the differences between employers who feel confident in their ability to manage and train employees with disabilities and those who do not.

The ADA, passed by Congress and signed into law in 1990, was designed to prohibit discrimination by private employers. The ADA has been slow to meet its goal. An “anti-ADA backlash,” unanticipated in its scope or intensity, coupled with a series of narrow court interpretations, have combined to limit the effectiveness of the law. Particularly troubling has been the inability of individuals with developmental disabilities to benefit from the employment discrimination provisions of the law. For example, less than 1% of the charges received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involved individuals with autism or mental retardation.

Despite these obstacles, the ability of individuals with developmental disabilities to “get the job done” and contribute to the economic life of their community remains undeniable. The simple truth is that the vast majority of employers who have hired persons with developmental disabilities, find that the presence of the worker with a disability has had a positive impact on the productivity and profitability of their business. Employers who have had experience hiring and supervising workers with developmental disabilities overwhelmingly believe that individuals with a disability have a right to be as independent as possible, including the opportunity to perform a job for which they are qualified.

There are many compelling and cost-effective reasons for employing a person with developmental disabilities. However, none of the factors is more convincing to the employer than the personal qualities that the individual with a disability brings to the employment setting. Time and time again, employers indicate that individuals with developmental disabilities are committed and dedicated workers who possess a strong desire not only to succeed in their jobs but also to advance in their careers. Both the popular culture and professional literature contain numerous examples that describe individuals with developmental disabilities as productive, dedicated and responsible employees. Some of the key findings from recent research efforts are summarized below.

Employers overwhelmingly rate the overall work performance of employees with developmental disabilities quite favorably. Employers consistently report that individuals with disabilities are able to “get the job done.” Numerous research studies (e.g., Shafer, Hill, Seyfarth, & Wehman, 1987; Shafer, Kregel, Banks, & Hill, 1988) have shown that employers rate the overall work performance of workers with developmental disabilities quite favorably. Specifically, when asked how the work performance of individuals with developmental disabilities compares to that of other employees in the same position, employers overwhelmingly indicated that the performance of the employees with disabilities meets or exceeds that of their nondisabled counterparts.

Of course, this does not mean that all individuals with disabilities are highly rated on every aspect of their work performance. For example, in the studies cited above, supervisors invariably rated the speed, quality of work, and independence of workers with disabilities as low, while simultaneously rating their overall work performance as quite high. In other words, employers frequently say that an employee with a disability may not work as fast as his or her co-workers. The employee may make more errors than other workers or require more of the supervisor’s time in supervision and guidance, Yet, when asked about the worker’s performance in its entirety, employers consistently report that individuals with developmental disabilities contribute as much or more to the business as all other employees.

On one level, this finding seems contradictory. Speed, accuracy, and ability to work independently are among the factors most frequently associated with highly productive employees. Yet, it is becoming increasingly apparent that employers often consider factors other than speed of work and training time when determining an employee’s overall level of work performance. Shafer and his colleagues (1988) found that these factors included reliability, inclusion in the workplace “culture,” and willingness to respond to employer supervision and feedback.

Workers with developmental disabilities, including persons with significant support needs, are dependable and reliable workers. In several major studies (Kregel, Parent, & West, 1994; Kregel & Unger, 1993; Shafer et al., 1987; Shafer et al., 1988) over 900 supervisors and employers were asked to rate the work performance of persons with disabilities in comparison to workers in similar jobs who did not have any identified disabilities. Workers with disabilities were rated higher than their non-disabled counterparts on a number of factors, including attendance, arriving to work and returning from breaks on time, accepting authority, and being accepted by the public.

Furthermore, the “level of disability” displayed by the workers did not affect how their employers evaluated their work performance. Individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism or severe cognitive disabilities were rated as highly as other workers with disabilities. In fact, individuals with developmental disabilities consistently demonstrate a greater ability to improve their work performance over time. This is not surprising given that over the past decade many individuals with developmental disabilities have entered competitive employment for the very first time. As these individuals have gained familiarity with the demands of the world of work, their performance has significantly improved.

Workers with developmental disabilities are generally satisfied employees who enjoy their jobs and the opportunity to contribute to their company. Individuals with developmental disabilities have overwhelmingly reported that they enjoy their jobs and their chance to work together with their co-workers and employers (Parent, Kregel, & Johnson, 1996; Test, Hinson, Solow, & Keul, 1993). When asked to identify the aspect of their job they enjoyed the most, workers with disabilities most frequently reported that they enjoyed their job duties and the people with whom they worked. They overwhelmingly indicated that their relationships with supervisors and coworkers were rewarding and that they were treated no differently from any of their co-workers.

While they are generally satisfied, individuals, with disabilities, like virtually all members of the workforce, often would like to see changes in their current job. Over half of the individuals interviewed by Parent and her colleagues (1996) reported that they wanted to obtain a better job in the near future. A chance for increased earnings, changes in their work schedules or job duties, or opportunities for promotions and career advancement are among the concerns expressed by consumers.

Workers with developmental disabilities express positive attitudes toward their employers and co-workers. Individuals with developmental disabilities interviewed by Parent and her colleagues (1996) overwhelmingly indicated that they had positive relationships with their supervisors and co-workers. Over 90% indicated that they got along well with their supervisors; over 80% indicated that their boss was always available when needed. They also indicated that they were treated no differently from anyone else on the job. Over 80% indicated that their bosses and co-workers treated them as well as or better than other workers on the job.

Workers with developmental disabilities have a positive impact on the overall productivity and profitability of the business or company that employs them. Many employers continue their commitment to workforce diversity as a strategy for increasing the productivity and competitiveness of their company. Workers with developmental disabilities are hardly a burden to business or industry. On the contrary, the presence of workers with disabilities actually increases the ability of a company to contend with its competitors. Kregel and Tomiyasu (1994) found that employers view people with disabilities as having a positive effect on their entire workforce. For example, many times co-workers will become vested in the success of the individual with a developmental disability. This will lead not only to social integration of the individual but also to camaraderie and cooperation among coworkers.

The “bottom line” from all these studies is this. Many individuals with developmental disabilities make highly effective employees. The characteristics valued most by employers – reliability, dependability, getting along with co-workers, loyalty to the company, respect for authority-are the factors used most often by employers to describe workers with developmental disabilities. Those factors that truly “handicap” an individual in terms of his or her value to an employer-insubordination, willingness to work as a member of a team, lack of dependability, substance abuse problems are the characteristics that employers least frequently ascribe to workers with disabilities.

In today’s highly competitive business environment, more and more employers are beginning to understand the value of workforce diversity and the potential contribution of individuals, with developmental disabilities. Hiring workers with disabilities is not a charitable act, it’s just good business sense. The vast majority of individuals with developmental disabilities arc terrific employees who are doing jobs that need to be done and who are contributing to the overall profitability of their companies in a variety of ways. Those employers who fail to recognize the potential contribution of workers with disabilities must understand that their competitors will and are taking advantage of this competitive edge. Companies that continue to discriminate against individuals with disabilities will go the way of those that failed to take advantage of the skills and abilities of women, people of color and other minorities. Why should businesses hire workers with developmental disabilities? Simply because they can’t afford not to.

John Kregel Co-editor

AUTHOR’S NOTE The development of this manuscript was partially supported by Grant No. H133B980036 from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and Contract No. 0600-98-35487from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and no official endorsement by NIDDR or SSA should be inferred.

REFERENCES Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. Kregel, J., Parent, W, & West, M. (1994). The impact of behavioral deficits on the employment retention of supported employment participants. Neurorehabilitation, 4(l), 1-14. Kregel, J., & Tomiyasu, Y. (1994). Employers’ attitudes toward workers with disabilities: The effect of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 4, 165-173. Kregel, J., & Unger, D. (1993). Employer perceptions of the work potential of individuals with disabilities: An illustration from supported employment. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 3, 17-2 S. Miller, P. S. (1999). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and people with mental retardation. Mental Retardation, 37,162-165. Parent, W, Kregel, J., & Johnson, A. (1996). Consumer satisfaction: A survey of Individuals with disabilities who receive supported employment services. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 11, 207-221. Shafer, M., Hill, J., Seyfarth, J., & Wehman, P. (1987). Competitive employment and workers with mental retardation: Analysis of employer’s perceptions and experiences. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 92, 304-311. Shafer, M., Kregel, J., Banks, P. D., & Hill, M. (1988). What does the boss think? An analysis of employer evaluations of workers with mental retardation. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 9, 377-391. Test, D., Hinson, K., Solow, J., & Keul, P. (1993). Job satisfaction of persons in supported employment. Education and Training in Mental Retardation, 28 (1), 38- 46.

We first met Dylan Metzger when he came to us in need of finding out what he wanted to do for work. We conducted a Discovery inquiry and found that he could use his varied skills in a variety of job situations.

We then began the job search. Dylan worked in the production area of Pearl Buck Center and we heard rave reviews of his work and ability to interact with his supervisors and coworkers.

Fuller Cabinets was in need of another clean-up person so we arranged for an interview. Dylan has been working at Fuller Cabinets for months now and says that he likes it. Here is a text that we received from Kallin Benson, who manages at the facility…

Good morning…first let me say that Dylan rocks! Such a great worker, and polite young man… he shows up on time every day, does exactly what he’s asked, and is respectful of the guys.  He’s painfully shy, but we’ll work on getting him out of his shell a bit.” says Kallin Benson from Fuller Cabinets  (5/5)

When I relayed this to Dylan, he said that he is just trying to be a good employee and do the work, because after all that is what he is there for.


Way to impress us all Dylan!


Adam Wesley/The Gazette

Maggie Kollmorgen fills a box with cupcakes in July 2015, at the Scratch Cupcakery in Coralville, Iowa. Kollmorgen, who has Down syndrome, works two-hour shifts at the shop, which accommodated her disability during her training. Most accommodations for people with disabilities cost employers little or nothing.

Small accommodations can go a long way for workers like Maggie Kollmorgen.

Kollmorgen has Down syndrome, but she’s found a work home at Scratch Cupcakery, where she folds boxes, fills cupcake orders and cleans up around the store four hours a week.

When Kollmorgen began working there last fall, she needed to learn the job at a slower pace — taking a few weeks to learn how to build the boxes instead of the few days it takes most employees.

The longer training period was one of the workplace accommodations the cupcake business made to employ the 26-year-old worker.

“You teach them little things at a time and spend a little bit more than one day or one shift on it,” said Kim Frost, assistant manager at Scratch, who added the company also employs Kelly Cochran, another worker with disabilities.

Overall, Frost said, the accommodations were not major ones and having Kollmorgen and Cochran has been a great help.

“I’m just loving it here. I just get along very well with the co-workers here in the front and the back,” Kollmorgen said, adding it was great to be accepted by both the co-workers and the company.

This is a great example of how accommodation a person with a disability can be simple and often doesn’t have to cost much, but time  and imagination. Often many companies think that accommodations for people with disabilities will be expensive and don’t give those with a barrier to employment a chance.

Pearl Buck Center’s Community Employment  connects people with physical and cognitive disabilities to employers looking to fill positions. We are more than happy to show businesses where a person would be useful in the company and assist with training and implementing accommodations where needed.

According to a 2014 study by the Job Accommodation Network, a service from the Office of Disability Employment Policy under the U.S. Department of Labor, 57 percent of job accommodations can be made at no cost to the company while other accommodations typically cost upwards to $500.

If there is a cost associated with an accommodation companies can take advantage of tax incentives to cover the cost.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, set the standards for the rights and responsibilities for employees and employers, including accommodation.

The law ensures people with disabilities have equal opportunity in how they apply for jobs and makes sure employees with disabilities enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment, such as providing a ramp to a front lobby or access to a break room.

He said the ADA also  requires companies to make reasonable accommodations so employees with disabilities can perform the essential functions of their job. This could be adjusting lighting to see better, or providing earphones for hearing better.

In the example mentioned above, that meant allowing Maggie more time to learn how to package boxes and tweaking her job responsibilities to her skill set.

The assistant manager of Scratch Cupcakery, Kim Frost said Kollmorgen and Cochran have made a positive contribution to the company.

“They just take the initiative, and that’s just great — not having to push someone to do things, and they just do it on their own,” Frost said.

Scratch Cupcakery, in Iowa, is not alone. Pearl Buck Center has successfully placed employees in many businesses within our very own community. Places like; Fuller Cabinet, Dari Mart, Playdates, Selco Credit Union, Chambers Construction, Willamalane, and Togo’s Sandwiches to name a few.

With all of these  companies, Pearl Buck Center’s Community Services has provided a job coach that accompanied the employees during their training to help them understand the employer’s expectations, what they were being trained and how to be successful.

If you would like Pearl Buck Center to help your business fill a position, please contact us and let’s talk and figure something out. pbc.community.employment@gmail.com


 Meet Rayanna. Rayanna is the definition o0a026cee-5884-44b9-ad4e-f0ea52ae89bcf a ‘people
Everywhere she goes, Rayanna smiles and talks to anyone and everyone.  People who know Rayanna say she is funny, personable, and has an uplifting spirit.  Rayanna’s primary interest is to find a job where she can help people. On top of that, Rayanna is a big animal lover and a great cook! She has personal and professional experience baking a variety
of items, from baked potatoes to desserts. Rayanna’s dog, Lily, is a big part of her life. Rayanna enjoys taking
Lily to the park and playing with her. As long as she is doing something involving people, food, and animals,  Rayanna is happy.

lil heart 2

Lily, Rayanna’s doggie

Either in customer service, as a waitress, or at a position where she can help animals, Rayanna’s strengths will truly shine. Her hardworking attitude, willingness to learn, and professional experience, make her a well-rounded candidate for a
variety of positions. Rayanna is open to trying new things and loves to learn new skills.


  If you  have a place for Rayanna in your business or know of a job opening that would be suitable for Rayanna and her skills and interests, please contact her Job Developer; Nicole Hamilton, nicole.hamilton@pearlbuckcenter.com, or 541-543-3507. Thank you!Copy of Simple restaurant menu poster - No image

These are all videos that I found on YouTube. These people are in various stages of life and have had many varied experiences to portray. I found it to be helpful in understanding what autism is and isn’t. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

“People are so afraid of variety that they try to fit everything into a tiny little box with a specific label,” says 16-year-old Rosie King, who is bold, brash and autistic. She wants to know: Why is everyone so worried about being normal? She sounds a call to action for every kid, parent, teacher, and person to celebrate uniqueness.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ95xlZeHo8&w=560&h=315]


Autism does not have to be a life sentence. Dr. John Hall knows. As a toddler, he lived in his own private world, flipping light switches, banging pans, avoiding eye contact, and babbling unintelligibly. Today, he is the CEO of a national education management firm based in Southern California. Defying his initial “slightly retarded, low-functioning autistic” diagnosis, he pushed himself through elementary, high school, and college earned an MBA, and was even awarded a Doctorate! He is also a father of two children, one with special needs.

John’s confusing, frustrating, often heart-wrenching, sometimes comical journey from disabled to triumphant will inspire every teacher, therapist, and family member who lives with, loves or works with a special-needs child. Am I Still Autistic? offers a unique, inside perspective on life in the special, secluded world of autism, and how love, support, and persistence can help make even the most unlikely candidate for success turn their life around.

Diagnosed as severely autistic and slightly retarded before he was two, Dr. John Hall overcame developmental issues, physical awkwardness, speech impediments, and family troubles to become a successful entrepreneur. He energetically juggles work, school, family, and diverse charity efforts with the autistic’s blessing of extreme focus and determination. Am I Still Autistic? is John’s gift to prove that when it comes to autism, anything — everything — really is possible!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6-PwVuYy2Y&w=560&h=315]

Wendy Lampen (Belgium, 1969 — @lampadedromy) works as a lecturer at a university of applied sciences. She got diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome herself. Trained as a teacher in English, History and Ethics, she, later on, worked with adolescents with autism in a school setting.

Next to being an MA in autism, she extensively studied neurotypical (non-autistic) behavior in order to understand people better. It gave her insight into what really set her apart from (most of the) others: sensory processing and its ongoing processes and the way the two brain types give meaning to the world they experience.

This heightened awareness made her start her own company with her (neurotypical) partner. From her international experience in how different cultures look at autism or ‘disorders’ in general, Wendy is an advocate for a neuro-divers society. She focusses on the competencies and the possibilities of the different brain types and how they each can contribute to a richer life.

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


overcoming personal limitations – going beyond boundaries

Krister Palo is a 15-year-old student at the International School of the Hague. Having been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, he has been faced with the stigma of this learning disability, which risked making him an outcast. In his TEDx Youth@ISH talk, however, he will convincingly demonstrate how people with learning disabilities can go far beyond ordinary boundaries and are valuable contributors to society.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inxIM1aGvZY&w=560&h=315]

Jacob Barnett is an American mathematician and child prodigy. At 8 years old, Jacob began sneaking into the back of college lectures at IUPUI. After being diagnosed with autism since the age of two and placed in his school’s special ed. program, Jacob’s teachers, and doctors were astonished to learn he was able to teach calculus to college students.

At age nine, while playing with shapes, Jacob built a series of mathematical models that expanded Einstein’s field of relativity. A professor at Princeton reviewed his work and confirmed that it was groundbreaking and could someday result in a Nobel Prize. At age 10, Jacob was formally accepted to the University as a full-time college student and went straight into a paid research position in the field of condensed matter physics. For his original work in this field, Jacob set a record, becoming the world’s youngest astrophysics researcher. His paper was subsequently accepted for publication by Physical Review A, a scientific journal shared on sites such as NASA, the Smithsonian, and Harvard’s webpage. Jacob’s work aims to help improve the way light travels in technology.

Jacob is also CEO and founder of Wheel LLC, a business he started in his mom’s garage and is in the process of writing a book to help end “math phobia” in his generation.

Jacob’s favorite pastime is playing basketball with the kids at his charity, Jacob’s Place. It is a place where kids with autism are inspired every day to be their true authentic selves…just like Jacob.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq-FOOQ1TpE&w=560&h=315]


Cody Peterson and Jacob Flug are polar opposites when it comes to personality, however, what they share is being successful at their new jobs at the same job site!

Kassey Daggett– Building Manager, of the South Hills Center, first approached us, last fall inquiring about filling a janitorial position a few nights a week in the Tamarack building. We placed Cody Grimes in this position  initially and assisted him in learning the tasks necessary.

Because of Cody’s success, Kassey called us back seeking another person to fill the nights that he didn’t work. We placed Cody Peterson (or Cody 2) and he took to the tasks without a hitch and he seems to enjoy the quietness of the Tamarack building as well as the tasks that he is performing.  IMG_6098

As a result of landing this job, Cody Peterson has been able to venture out of his comfort level and learn to get around town on his own using the LTD bus system.  JF Trash

After Cody G. elected to not work anymore, we were asked to replace him, so we did with Jacob Flug. Jacob has been doing a fantastic job of cleaning and as a result of having a job he is in the process of getting his drivers license, moving out of his families home, and finding an apartment of his own.

Both of these young men have been able to get all of the tasks that were requested of them completed within the time frame given them and will soon be given additional tasks to finish as part of their workload.

We are all very proud of Cody and Jacob and the progress that they have both made. We are happy to have been a part of both of their growth and development into independent members of the Eugene community. Nice job, guys!


I want to share an email from Pearl Buck Center’s Safety  and Forklift Training Program Coordinator; Mark Marzullo. It’s a great example of what can happen when people are persistent and receptive and willing to think outside of the box (or perceived ability).

May 10, 2016

When I was approached by one of the Community Employment Specialists (Linda Cox) back in October of 2015 saying she had a VR client who was interested in learning how to operate a forklift having had no previous experience I was wondering how we could make that happen.

At the time we were buried in Production work and all staff were already working overtime. I told her we would need to find a window of opportunity and a month went by. I was asked again but still we were buried. I was skeptical we could pull this off and admittedly I did not push. A very wise man who just happens to be our COO and financial guru spoke with me about something that was still a new concept for me at the time. He said (loosely quoted), we are Pearl Buck Center, we are in the business of improving lives, helping people reach their goals. Make it happen, Mark!


I went to two very key experienced resources Will & Jon (Pearl Buck Center Production department heads). They truly understood the PBC Mission that I was still learning. Well, of course, we will find the time. Well, of course, we can make it happen. We are Pearl Buck Center. That’s what we do. Wow was I humbled. Next John Whalen- PBC Operations Specialist/Business Developer, gave his blessing for whatever resources were needed and on December 1, 2015, we started training Lonnie Ofsthun.

Lonnie with pallet jack

It was a slow process. At times, it did not go well.  The pace seemed like two steps forward, one step back but all the while our staff never gave up. We solicited the help of Doug, another PBC Production staff, who was a prior VR client that came to the Community Employment Department seeking work, to lend his time and expertise. Doug helped bring us to the promised land with Lonnie and his training.


So here we are on 5-10-2016. We have completed our training and Lonnie successfully passed his practical evaluation. He now is certified through PBC as a Forklift Operator and Electric Pallet Jack Operator. Whether or not Lonnie ever gets a job using these skills will never take away the pure joy I saw in his eyes as shown in this photo.


That is what PBC is all about. Now more than ever…..I get it. Thanks to everyone who participated in this and for helping me grow as part of the PBC family.


Mark Marzullo

Safety Coordinator

Pearl Buck Center