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Local Businesses Help “Unsung Heroes”
May 10, 2022
Local businesses around the Fluvanna County area have taken an interest in hiring what Special Education teacher Nick Ward calls the “unsung heroes” of FCHS– the special needs students. Ward said these students are excited about the opportunity and are dedicated to being a part of the community through it.
Businesses such as Dunkin Donuts, Silk City, Natural Steps, Fluvanna County Library, the county’s After School Program, and Chick-Fil-A have hired students as paid workers and volunteers.
Students working at these companies include the following:
Lizzie Williams- Chick-fil-a employee and volunteer at Natural Steps Day Care
Xavier Grooms- Walmart employee and volunteer at Fluvanna County Library
Ka’Shawn Jackson- Silk City employee
Brooke Gregory- extended education program and volunteer at Fluvanna County Public Library
Aaliyah Lewis- Dunkin Doughnuts employee
Shantika Hawkins- Dunkin Doughnuts employee
Dalton McClurken- Silk City employee
Gregory said her goal in obtaining a job was to “pay for my own stuff and not have to ask people for money anymore.” Grooms said his favorite part of the job is “talking to customers and being able to help them.”
Ward said he is extremely grateful for the opportunities offered to his students by these employers. “I can’t thank the local businesses enough for seeing all of the abilities in my students. They clock in every day with a smile on their faces, which in today’s world is a little unheard of,” he said. “I am hoping to spread the wealth, per se, to our county in the future and would love to speak with anyone in the Fluvanna County area that may need help at their business with good hardworking, dependable volunteers who end up being trained to make great employees,” he added.
Ward said the backbone of the program is Jesse Stover and Laverne McMillian, FCHS staff who drive the students to their job and give them training. “They serve as not only our drivers but also as our job coaches, staying with the students early during the volunteer stages to help train the students exactly as the employer wants them trained,” Ward explained. “After the students are trained, they start to lessen their training time and start to focus on other students at other sites. It’s really a huge building block and I can’t thank them enough for their time and efforts,” he added.