What started as one job has now turned into three! At first, participants at Clever Center (one of the four Support Services for Adults locations) shredded paper from area businesses and local non-profit organizations, which is then donated to the Humane Society.
Then, Courtney Corder, Support Coordinator, Googled what to do with shredded paper. She got the idea from one of the participants who would hand shred paper as a calming mechanism. She was thinking of making confetti but then she found an article on ‘how to make paper.’
Participants started sorting the paper by color. The white paper shreddings are still being donated, but the colored paper is shredded and set aside to make paper. “Everyone can do it,” Courtney said. “It’s a great job for those that want to work independently or for those that need some staff assistance.”
The making paper from paper is a pretty unique process, but what the participants and staff do with the paper is even more unique. They make birthday cards for individuals in Community Living’s Residential and Independent Living Assistance programs.
In November, Courtney sent an email to Residential Managers and Kat Thomas, Independent Living Assistance Coordinator, asking for birthdates and interests of those in the Residential program. “I thought this was great,” Kat said. “I have been wanting to do something special for their birthdays for some time now.”
Courtney and her staff realize managers in Residential don’t always have extra time to plan for birthdays, so when they decided to design the cards, they left the ‘from’ field blank, so the manager can sign their name.
On average, six pieces of recycled paper are made daily at the center. Making the paper is a slow process. The shreddings have to soak for a few days, after the recycled paper is made, there’s a two-day dry time. But, this is a very cost-effective job. Most of the supplies have been donated. “We are big on reusing, reducing and recycling around here,” Courtney said.
Once the paper is dried, Zach Atteberry, Support Staff, and participants will create birthday cards for the upcoming birthdays. “Zach has taken the job of card making head on, and with the participants’ help, really creates something special,” Courtney said.
Each card is designed based on the likes and interests of the person whose birthday is coming up. “The cards are very unique, each one is different and individualized for the person receiving it,” Kat said. “The cards have really exceeded my expectations with how clever they are.”
For those receiving the card, they are happy and surprised when they receive a birthday card from staff. “This job gives our participants a purpose in that they are making someone’s day,” Courtney said.