Partnering with Salem-Keizer Community Transition Program (CTP), Union Gospel Mission of Salem provides a regular opportunity for vocational skills development in adult students who have disabilities.
“The community is our classroom,” says Tammy Duke, special programs employment specialist for the CTP students, aged 18-21.
When they sort items at UGM’s Donation Center (one CTP worksite out of many in the Salem-Keizer area) they are developing the basic skills they need like arriving to the site on time, following directions, and checking in with their supervisor. Once these students learn foundational skills, they are able to move on to areas of personal interest, eventually finding gainful employment in the community.
“These kids ground us,” says UGM Warehouse Manager Stan Sorensen. Sorensen has worked with the students for the last two years and his passion for the program has grown as he’s watched students learn and flourish. Seeing the achievements they make, no matter how small, is his favorite part of their regular visits to the Donation Center.
“The little things like sorting items in the right bin… the excitement and glow on their face…” he says, a bit misty-eyed.
Learn more about this Salem-Keizer School District program here: https://mk0salkeizk12or7kyfk.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/STS-W037_English.pdf