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Work Activity Center
A Daniels Fund Impact Story
Employment Services Program
Grant Funding Area:
Grant Impact Area:
Grant purpose: To help purchase a jump rope molding machine that will help the Work Activity Center provide additional employment opportunities for its disabled employees.
How this organization is helping make lives better: The Work Activity Center (WAC) provides a variety of employment opportunities for its disabled clients, including working on the manufacture of jump ropes. Each of the over 10,000 jump ropes sold last year by WAC was made by a developmentally disabled person. Through WAC’s Employment Services program, developmentally disabled individuals learn skills such as following patterns, task sequencing, practicing fine motor skills, making a quality product, and taking pride in one’s work. Unfortunately, due to supplier problems WAC was not previously able to consistently provide work for its disabled clients working on jump ropes. With the addition of the jump rope mold machine, WAC will begin making its molded plastic parts locally, have better control over its supply lines, and increase the opportunities for its clients. It will also increase revenue from its jump rope sales, which account for a significant portion of WAC’s operating revenue.
Story of a life made better: In 1977, Robert came to the Work Activity Center in an effort to learn new skills and get a job. He worked hard in the employment department and gained the skills he needed to be placed in a community job. After some time, he was able to obtain community employment at various locations, including a grocery store and a fast food restaurant. As Robert aged, his health issues began to interfere with his ability to work in the community. When community based employment was no longer feasible, Robert returned to the Work Activity Center’s in-house employment team, where he is a valuable member. The paycheck he earns provides Robert the independence to save money and make purchases that he feels will improve his life.
Unfortunately, in spite of his successes, Robert’s life has not been without its hardships. In 2003, Robert’s mother passed away. While this was heartbreaking for Robert, he continued living at home with his father, who cared for him and made sure all of his needs were met. However, just two years later, tragedy struck again and Robert lost his father. With both parents gone, Robert found himself very much alone. While he had some relatives in the area, no one was able to take him in. For the first time in his life, Robert found himself without a home.
Since Robert had such a long history with the Work Activity Center, it was only natural they take measures necessary to place Robert in a supervised apartment with a roommate. Once in the residential program, it was discovered that while Robert’s parents took excellent care of him, he had next to no independent living skills. With patience and a little help from the staff at his apartment, Robert began learning skills he needed to live more independently. Robert can now use the telephone, answer the door, take his medications, help with his laundry, and help cook meals. While these are abilities that many take for granted, for Robert, this personal growth has been both meaningful and rewarding – particularly developing his relationship with his roommate, who he looks on as a brother.
Through living in a supported apartment complex for seniors, Robert has attended activities with friends, accessed the community around him, and has gained confidence in his abilities. Although he misses his family and talks about them often, Robert is at a place in his life where he is as fulfilled, if not more so, as he was when he joined the Center 33 years ago. While not related by blood, Robert refers to his neighbors and staff at the Work Activity Center as his new family.
Work Activity Center
1275 West 2320 South
West Valley City, UT 84128