Hometown Hero: Employability

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 3:11 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Like most non-profits, Employability changed how it did things during the pandemic.

But with the help of some local Boy Scouts, the Hometown Heroes at the organization that prepares people with disabilities for jobs in the community is bringing back one of its most popular activities.

Soon, people will be getting their hands dirty again at Employability, some of them on their way to life-enriching employment.

“They could work for any landscaping company, they could work at Lowe’s or Home Depot,” Brendan Ferrara said.

The non-profit that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities get jobs in the community lost its garden work space when it shifted locations during the pandemic. But a gift to organization will now allow Employability to resume its popular gardening program.

“They are raised garden beds that are ADA accessible, so it’s approachable for all of our program participants, the ones that are on casters can come inside and outside and the beauty of it is that everybody can participate with it, whether they need to stay indoors because of heat restrictions or if they want to go outside.”

Boy Scout Troop 1 in Savannah built seven garden beds as Ian Eckmann’s Eagle Scout project. And now Employability participants can use them to learn, to simply enjoy planting or for potential job training.

“The beauty of it is it’s going to be both fun and rewarding. And it’s something where people can see the affects, the growth in what they’re doing.

“From the initial planting to seeing all the plants change in size and stuff like that and just giving them something to do every day that they can see changing, I think it’s a really good opportunity for them,” Tony Buttimer said.

May River Landscaping Services is helping beautify Employability’s new space as the organization’s participants get ready to get back to planting for themselves.

“That often times is one of the challenges we have is to find activities where people can learn something, be engaged, have a good time but also see the fruits of their labors.”