On Friday June 23rd, 2017, Karen Weihrauch and I, Angie Mahoney (author of I Can Work!), had the pleasure of attending the Fourth Annual Community Partners with CLASS, Inc. Hawaiian Luau on the stunning grounds of The Stevens Estate at Osgood Hill in North Andover, MA. This event was dedicated to celebrating the friends, families and community collaborators with CLASS, Inc. through awards, fundraising, live music and so much more!
As Karen and I pulled up to the event, we could feel that it was going to be a special evening. Immediately greeted with smiles and Hawaiian leis, both of us were eager to meet the many dedicated employees of CLASS, Inc. and enjoy this remarkable evening celebrating the community.
A few months prior to this event, I had the pleasure of connecting with Melanie Chandonnet, Clinical Director for CLASS, Inc. Melanie had expressed interest in the I Can Work! program I had developed and had begun implementing it with a group of adults in the community-based day support program. Through conversations over the next few months, Melanie shared how she saw the benefit of each module and wanted to develop access to a range of vocational materials found in I Can Work! Over the next few weeks, Melanie worked hard to create a "Fund-A-Need" proposal to help raise money to provide a range of vocational materials and proudly kicked it off at the Hawaiian celebration!
When Karen and I saw the "Fund-A-Need" board for the first time the night of the event, it took our breath away! The squares were based off of the five I Can Work! modules of Job Readiness, Clerical, Food Service, Retail and Grocery. Under each donation square was an item to purchase related to building vocational skills. We stood in awe and excitement as attendees excitedly purchased squares giddy over staplers, washing machines and bedroom sets, all while knowing it was so much more!
As the beautiful summer evening continued on, conversations of the good work so many are doing were had and dancing was enjoyed! Karen and I left the event with our hearts full and a sense of community established. We look forward to celebrating with CLASS., Inc. again next year and continuing the vocational growth for ALL individuals!