BY MYA AL-HASHEMI
The independence of a job once was out of reach for those with mental retardation or developmental disabilities.
But in Warren County since 1990, more than 225 people have the independence of a job and a paycheck.
The success stories are many: a deaf woman helps put together catalogs at Sears; a woman with Down syndrome works as an assistant caregiver in the nursery at Countryside YMCA; and every Saturday, a woman with cerebral palsy collects tickets at a local cinema. "We see people whose whole social life was built around what they did in their workshops but are now doing things with people in the workplace. They're going out with co-workers, going bowling, going out to eat, like most people," said Nick Haverkos, director of community employment.
An awards ceremony Thursday will honor the employees and employers involved in the Warren County Board of Mental Retardation Community Employment Program.
More than 150 businesses in Warren County employ people through the program.
"We don't have people out there working for charity. We have really good people who can give businesses good employment. It's an unknown employment pool," Mr. Haverkos said.
The Community Employment Awards Ceremony will be 6-10 p.m. Thursday in the Tom Cline Pavilion at Armco Park in Turtlecreek Township. Information: 933-1634.