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CHOOSING TO WORK: Passages clients make a difference

March 22, 2012

Ryan Jackson does his best to keep streets in front of The Clugston clean. But please, he prefers to be called “Mr. Jackson.” — Post & Mail photo / Robin R. Plasterer

COLUMBIA CITY — The clients of Passages don’t have to work outside the walls of Towerview Industries, but 14 of them chose to do so.
“I like to work here at The Clugston,” said Ryan Jackson, who prefers to be called “Mr. Jackson.”
He cleans both The Clugston and Whitley Meadows on a part-time basis.
Dean Kincaid, supported living coordinator at Passages, said the organization’s clients strive for independence.
Even though each client gets some form of disability payment from the federal government, each one is allowed to work part-time.
“It gives them a feeling of worth,” said Kincaid, a Passages employee for 22 years. “It makes them feel like everybody else, plus to get that extra money.”
Since the 1970s, Passages have trained those clients who choose to work.
Current employers are Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Passages Administration Offices, Golden Corral in Fort Wayne, the Whitley County Community Foundation, the Whitley County Immunization Clinic, The Post & Mail newspaper and Bob Evans.
“The jobs they do at these area businesses range from cleaning to delivering newspapers,” said Kincaid.
There are two job coaches in Whitley County for the employees, Ryan Kreider and Mary Batty.
“If employers or employees have issues they can call their job coaches,” said Kincaid.
Passages is always looking for more employers to join in this win/win situation. For more information call Kincaid at (260) 244-9307 or email him at dkincaid@passagesinc.org.

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