Job Club hosting winter gear give-away Dec. 19

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Ready for the Dec. 19 “Spread the Warmth” winter gear giveaway are: (from left) Jenn Coleman, community inclusion manager for the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities; Marlyn Zeeck and Brandon North, Madison County Job Club members; and Mike Michaels, owner of the Coffee Peddler.

(Posted Dec. 15, 2016)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots, snowsuits, earmuffs… You name it, they have it.

On Dec. 19, the Madison County Job Club will hold a winter gear giveaway from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Coffee Peddler, 127 S. Main St., London. Anyone in need is welcome to stop by and stock up.

Job Club members started collecting new and gently used winter gear in early November. The “Spread the Warmth Coats and Coffee” event is just one of the ways this new group is giving back to the community.

Established in January, Job Club is made up of adults with disabilities who are served by the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) and employed at area businesses. Their mission is to promote inclusive communities that embrace people of all abilities socially, culturally and in the workplace.

The group, which currently numbers about 15, meets regularly to talk about career development and job support, as well as to plan and enjoy social activities and community service projects.

“Job Club really helps to get adults with disabilities involved in community activities and stopping in places like the Coffee Peddler to have coffee and talk about themselves. It gets them engaging in their communities a little more, not only by working but socially,” said Jenn Coleman, MCBDD community inclusion manager and Job Club advisor.

Marlyn Zeeck of London is an active Job Club member. Employed at Burger King in London since 2006, she has raised her two children on her own since her husband passed away in 2004. She rides her bicycle everywhere, no matter the weather, and is a member of the Madison County Special Olympics basketball team. She has been involved in Special Olympics since graduating from Madison-Plains High School in 1986.

Zeeck said she likes making a positive impact through Job Club. She provides peer-to-peer support among her fellow club members, talking about her work experiences and sharing job postings through social media. She also takes part in the club’s outreach projects.

Earlier this year, Job Club members secured permission from city leaders to clean up and maintain London’s Triangle Park, located at the corner of Elm and Lafayette streets. The group weeded, mulched, and trimmed trees and bushes. They also kept the property mowed all summer.

“We just want to make London look nice,” Zeeck said.

Brandon North, the club’s recorder, is of the same mindset. He likes the idea of making the town in which he lives a cleaner, more vibrant place and looks forward to the group’s next project, construction and installation of three free, little libraries.

Free little libraries are freestanding boxes that can hold a dozen or so books. Anyone from the public can put books in the box or take books from it. In January, Job Club members will work with Madison County Family Council, London City Schools, and Engage, a program for at-risk youth affiliated with Family and Children First, to build little libraries for placement at Triangle Park and the playgrounds at London Elementary and Madison-Plains Elementary.

This project is right up North’s alley. He studied construction framing and technologies at Pickaway Ross Career and Technical Center and wants to get into carpentry. He works for Cleaners Extraordinaire, doing custodial work at the eastbound and westbound rest areas on I-70 in Madison County. Like Zeeck, he is a member of Madison County’s Special Olympics basketball team.

Beyond the chance to give back to the community, North sees Job Club as a support system for self-advocacy.

“It helps clients stand up for their rights, who they are and what they do,” he said.

MCBDD serves 47 adults with disabilities who are employed in the community in everything from restaurant and retail settings to manufacturing and warehousing. Job Club is an auxiliary program available to those clients. To learn more about the services MCBDD provides, call (740) 852-7050.

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