October 16, 2014
Disability Mentoring Day in Putnam County came to a close yesterday after a dozen participants spent their morning working in various County departments. One participant even received an offer of a job.
“The day was a total win-win scenario,” said Tina Cornish-Lauria, director of CAREERS for People with Disabilities. Cornish-Lauria was the lead coordinator for this year’s Mentoring Day.
“Our clients and those from PARC and Carmel High School received the enthusiastic support from County Executive MaryEllen Odell and her staff as they do every year.”
Participants were assigned to numerous offices including the County Executive and County Clerk, Health, Probation, Purchasing, Sheriff, Tourism, and the Youth Bureau. The young men and women were assigned tasks appropriate to the needs of each department and to the participant’s capabilities. Office tasks included filing, setting up binders, copying, scanning or shredding documents and picking up and delivering inter-office and post office mail. Those assigned to the Highway or Transportation departments were involved in landscaping, gardening and car or bus cleaning.
“Everyone, from department heads to maintenance supervisors, made our Mentoring Day participants feel welcomed, needed and appreciated all morning,” said Kathy Gilliland-Nichols, the PARC coordinator.
At the close of the day, all who participated gathered indoors at Cornerstone Park to evaluate their experiences.
“The evaluation results reinforced what we already know – this event is valued by our clients and as much as it is by County staff. Both sides learn from the other,” said Cornish-Lauria.
Survey comments received from mentors and mentees included statements such as “I liked learning new things.”, “Not enough time.”, “You should do four a year.”, and “I liked everything.”
Odell was present for the evaluation at Cornerstone Park.
“It never ceases to amaze me how impressed our County employees always are by the young men and women with whom they have had the privilege to work. It truly gives all of us a feeling of deep satisfaction to know we may, in some small way, be helping a disabled person to find their place in the working world,” said Odell.
The day ended on a particularly high note as one of the disabled students from Carmel High School was offered a job working at Scoops N More, a favorite frozen yogurt, ice cream, burger and fries hangout near the school, during her visit with Rob Morris in the Health Department.
“I simply can’t thank MaryEllen enough. She and her wonderful staff truly make a real difference in the lives of our participants. And each of us, myself, Kathy and Kimberly (Coleman Yedowitz, the CHS coordinator) thank you for your long-standing support of, and appreciation for, our programs for Putnam’s disabled,” said Cornish-Lauria.
Photo caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell and CAREERS for People with Disabilities Director Tina Cornish-Lauria (far left) pose with County employees, PARC and Carmel High School coordinators and the young men and women who participated in this year’s Putnam County Disability Mentoring Day program.