There is a new Goodwill in town, but it is not a typical store. It is the Eastside Rehabilitation Services Center, and the new location is making it possible for disabled adults to work closer to home.
“This is our first site location out here,” Leslie McCurley, assistant director of developmental disabilities for Goodwill, said. “We want to be able to be responsive to the community and be able to serve people in their communities.”
The center was opened thanks to a group effort from Goodwill, Southwest Ohio Developmental Center and both the Hamilton and Clermont county boards of developmental disabilities.
“We are thrilled about the variety of work options we are able to offer both to Clermont as well as Hamilton County residents that live on the east side of Cincinnati,” McCurley said.
The center is located off Grissom Drive in Batavia, near the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ Grissom Building.
Participants from both Hamilton and Clermont counties can utilize the center, and transportation is provided. Usually the work day begins around 8:30 a.m. and ends around 3 p.m.
So far the center has 19 participants, and will be able to serve more. Individuals also have the option of utilizing the Beechmont Goodwill store location to learn processing and customer service skills.
When participants come to the new center, they are able to work on assembly and packaging tasks, which include putting things together, organizing parts for other companies and preparing clothing and other items for the shelves of the Goodwill stores.
“I basically like working for people,” Kevin Brown, a participant at the center, said about working there. “I know I am making a difference to people in their lives. That’s why I feel good doing this job.”
Brown said he is head of janitorial and maintenance services at the center and also works on assembly. He, like all participants, is paid for his work.
In addition to the work area of the center, participants are also able to enjoy a recreation room and lunch room, where they can take breaks.
“It’s a place where I can come and cool off and get away,” Brown said about the break room.
While the center was opened to help give disabled adults a new, closer location to work and make money, Goodwill’s ultimate goal for their centers is to help participants become experienced in the workplace.
“The goal is to get them a job,” Michael Flannery, public information officer for Ohio Valley Goodwill, said. “They learn life skills along with everything else in order to get a job.”