St. Mary

Mar 31, 2011 7:42 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Disability Awareness Month

The St. Mary Parish Recycling Facility is trying to raise money for a new vocational training building. Their having a raffle for Intellectual and Developmental Disability Month. It will help support the non-profit organization that runs the facility, The Center of Hope, which provides the workers who sort the recyclables. The 20 workers all have an intellectual or developmental disability.

"They are part of our community," said Bonnie Peltier, Executive Director of The Center of Hope. "They can function as well as we can in a job situation or in a home situation. They have the same rights as we do."

Peltier says the center serves, not only as a job for the individuals, but as a place where they can get a sense of belonging. For six hours, five days a week, Peltier and her staff help the employees sort through seven bins from across the parish.

Peltier says, "It takes a special person to work with the individuals we serve. You have to have compassion... you have to have understanding... you have to have a heart."

Peltier has been with the center for over seven years. She says over that time, she's seen just how much pride the disabled workers have in their job.

"They love the work they do," said Peltier. "They are the best group of employees any company can have. They're always satisfied with the position they're given and the work they're given. They never complain."

Peltier hopes the community will continue to support the organization, and the people it helps.

"We have to be their voices, we have to be advocates for these individuals. That's what this organization is all about."

The raffle tickets are being sold for $1. You can call the center for more information at (337)836-9445. The prizes are as follows:
1st Prize: 7-Day, 6-Night stay at Cypress Pointe Condo in Orlando, Florida
2nd Prize: $1,000 cas donation from Teche Federal Bank
3rd Prize: Original Painting by Francis Todd
4th Prize: Outdoor Light Kit donated by Higgins Electrical
5th Prize: Mr. Lester's Gift Certificate

The drawing will be held Friday, April 15th.

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