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Earthworks Partners with JESSE

LaVille Jr./Sr. High School student Jake Snyder learns valuable work experience at The Center at Donaldson.

Angela Resendez, Vocational/Transition Coordinator for JESSE (Joint Education Services in Special Education) in North Central Indiana and Cheri Ringer, Coordinator of Earthcare Education for Earthworks, a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, have partnered to provide work experiences for special needs students ages 17+. These are students that have mild to moderate special needs and are working towards earning a high school diploma. These students can have success at an appropriate vocation but are currently underserved by programs that would provide this kind of training.

At the beginning of the second semester 2016/17 school year, a trial work experience was established at the greenhouses located at The Center at Donaldson. The first JESSE student was Jake Snyder, from LaVille Jr./Sr. High School in Lakeville, Indiana who works with Sam Tepes, Greenhouse Specialist. Jake has been cleaning eggs, mulching bio-char, clearing crop beds and minor maintenance jobs. He comes to the greenhouse once a week for about an hour and a half. Jake loves the outdoors and is enjoying his time working with Sam.

With a generous donation from the Marshall County Community Foundation, The Center at Donaldson will continue to add more work experience opportunities for JESSE students this fall. In addition, Ancilla College students will have the opportunity to become a Job Coach for the JESSE students and earn a small stipend for their work. It is the hope that the Job Coach experience becomes part of the education curriculum at Ancilla College.