As part of our Annual Tree of Hope Kick-off, we also include a special recognition event and award several individuals and businesses for their outstanding achievements. This year is our 37th year for DSC’s Annual Recognition Awards! DSC has been fortunate over the years to work alongside many wonderful community partners, and collaborators. One of those partners is Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center.
The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) has been an exceptional partner with DSC’s Community Day Services and Community First programs for the past three years. What began in September of 2020 as a supported employment site offering work opportunities twice a week to four people who were a part of our day program services, has grown to become a significant employment option for 22 individuals three days a week!
Each scheduled day, a crew of three to four workers, with the guidance of their Supported Employment Specialist (SES), are responsible for cleaning various areas within the three floors of the massive UCIMC, located in the historic post office building in downtown Urbana. Comprised of workers with varying ability levels, our crew sweeps, mops, vacuums, dusts, sanitizes surfaces, cleans windows and mirrors, takes out trash and recycling, and replenishes supplies, some independently and some with the job coaching of our SES. In addition to our assigned cleaning tasks, we are periodically asked to help out in other ways, such as deep cleaning the stage, art gallery, library, or sun room after a community event; stocking the vending machines; sweeping the area outside of their large birdcage, which houses numerous Australian finches; or helping a local artist take down and load her artwork into her vehicle at the end of her show.
Executive Director, Miriam Larson, is supportive, inclusive, responsive, and overall, wonderful to work with. She maintains regular communication with our SES and crewmembers, actively expands our responsibilities and schedule, and continues to look for other opportunities for DSC with their organization. She has invited us to various theater, music, dance, and other happenings at the center; ensured discounted rental fees of their beautiful sun room space for our participation in 2022’s virtual Speak Up/Speak Out Summit; and as part of their fundraising campaign for an accessibility ramp, asked a few crew members to participate in a short video, wobbling a lamppost out of the way of the proposed ramp location!
DSC is proud to partner with Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, as we mutually create impact in our community. Congratulations, UCIMC for being a 2023 Employer of the Year Award Recipient! Thank you, for your kindness, ingenuity, and support of DSC!