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Local organization getting adults with disabilities ready for employment

CBS 21

A central Pennsylvania organization is making a difference by preparing adults with developmental and physical disabilities for employment.

Every week you’ll find Tyre at the Reuzit warehouse in New Holland, Lancaster County. He’s always taking donated clothing and getting it “floor ready” for customers to buy.

This is all part of Excentia’s Independent U program that develops personals, professional and job-related skills through volunteer work.

It’s just one of a few locations Tyre where volunteers his time, including his church and a horse farm.

"The horses love me there, I’m the horse whisperer,” Tyre said.

Excentia team members Stephanie and Shannon supervise people like Tyre and his friend Amy with a caring, watchful eye although both of them are quite independent.

"It's amazing seeing them grow as people as well from their skills and to a point where they can basically almost be on their own. That's our goal to get them to a level where they can reach self-employment," Shannon Shockley, a volunteer coordinator, said.

That goal of self-employment resonates with Harry, another participant in Excentia’s program who helps the close to 100 adults develop much needed skills.

Harry volunteers at the Lancaster Public Library under the supervision of volunteer coordinator, Erica.

“I really enjoy this, you know, having a lot of people around,” Harry said. “You know, get to see new people, new faces, you know, that sorta thing, that’s my life. I like Erica, she’s really good staff. She looks out for me.”

Independent U is just one of several services Excentia offers that provides support and social opportunities.

There’s also the circle of friends program.

“(The program) is a great opportunity for adults 18 and older to come out and be part of the community and meet other people and have opportunities to go bowling and do things in the community, golfing, lots of fun things that many people like to take advantage of," Director of Development and Marketing, Karen Fitzgerald, said.

"Our volunteer coordinators have been with individuals for years, so when you see that shy person come in on that first day not knowing what to expect, and then 2 to 3 years later, you see this wonderful person full, outgoing, hard working person, you feel just as great about it as they do," Shannon said.

To learn more about Excentia, including a big gundraiser coming up next month, head to ourexcentia.org/about-us/.

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