Monday, May 4, 2015

Supporting Employment in an Inclusive Environment: Village Green Healthcare Center

Pictured left to right: Erika Smith, Nick Anderson – Executive Director-Village Green, Tamala Marley – Employment Advisor-Darke County Board of DD, Lauren Warner, Rodney Willis – Community First Director-Darke County Board of DD.
The Village Green Healthcare Center in Greenville, Ohio has shown their support of the Employment First Initiative. The Employment First website states that the initiative believes “every person has abilities, skills and talents to enrich the community and people around us. They envision a time when every working-age adult with developmental disabilities has opportunity to explore their career options and seek jobs that fit their skills and interests.”

Erika Smith was featured in an article during National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October 2014. Upon receiving training through the Bridges to Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Public Private Partnership grant, Village Green and specifically Executive Director Nick Anderson gave Erika a chance at employment and it has paid off. Erika was originally hired by Village Green in the housekeeping department as a part time aide. Once Village Green noticed Erika’s dedication (filling in wherever she was needed), passion (excitement for work) and work ethic (meeting the needs of everyone) they decided that she would be a better fit on their full time schedule. On April 1, 2015, with the exceptional training and support of her administrative staff and fellow co-workers, Erika began her full time position in the housekeeping department.

In November 2014, Village Green again showed their support for Employment First when hiring Lauren Warner. Lauren is a part time worker in the dietary department at Village Green and has shown her skills and abilities as well. When asked what makes Erika and Lauren great employees Nick states “their work ethic, personalities, and positive attitudes are contagious.” He went on to say that “Erika opened up a lot of doors & windows for others at Village Green.” Erika and Lauren have set such a great example that Nick has reached out to the Community First department in need of volunteers. As we are still working on meeting these needs please know that volunteerism is open to anyone wishing to donate their time. If you are interested in volunteering at Village Green, contact Nick Anderson at (937) 548-1993.

The Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Community First department is very excited to have such a supportive and inclusive community partner in Village Green. You are not only making a difference in the lives of these two young ladies but you have also made their dreams come true! Thank you for being such an asset to our community. You are appreciated!

For more information on Employment First and the benefits of employing individuals with disabilities please visit

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