Wednesday August 10, 2011
New Program Offers Innovative Approach to Work
As eight people package products for retail sale, six others do puzzles or arts and crafts or watch movies in another part of the room. They’re upbeat, friendly and productive.
These are the X-Plorers of Jewish Vocational Service, a program that features a mixture of recreation, social activities and workfor consumers with developmental disabilities who prefer lighter workloads.
The X-Plorers arose from the recognition that some consumers wanted to increase the amount of time they spend participating in recreational and social activities.
They once did assembly and packaging work all day with dozens of co-workers in the JVS Work Center in Blue Ash. Now, with fewer co-workers, there are fewer distractions, making them more productive.
Matthew Cromer, 24, of Sycamore Township, loves the X-Plorers. Cromer had a difficult time focusing in the Work Center because so many things are happening at once. “The X-Plorers are more relaxing and laid-back,” he says.
The X-Plorers are funded by Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services and Medicaid. A similar program with 21 consumers exists at the JVS location on Harrison Avenue on the West Side.
“We wanted to provide meaningful activities and minimize behavioral problems,” says JVS Vice President Rich Davis. “Our consumers and staff are thrilled with the new program.”
Because of the program’s popularity, the number of X-Plorers has grown to about 20 since the group came together in October 2009. As a result, several times they’ve moved to larger rooms.
The current room is the size of a classroom. Dozens of board games and books sit on shelves. Hanging from the ceiling are miniature replicas of the planets. On the floor in a corner are bean bag chairs.
Programming focuses on themes. During their Disney week, they watched Disney movies on a large-screen TV, then created artwork based on the movies.
Guest speakers have talked about their overseas vacation trips and showed photos. A musician performed on his guitar and puppeteers put on a show. They’ve taken field trips to a firehouse, airport, historic Indian village and doughnut bakery.
Some consumers do individual activities while others work in teams. Says David Shell, a JVS work adjustment specialist, “There’s something for everybody all the time if they want it.”
MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE X-PLORERS
More information about the X-Plorers is available from JVS. Please contact Keith Hammond at 513-985-0515 or email@example.com.