United Way Fox Cities has been one of our core community partners for over 25 years. Their partnership has helped us provide many of our community programs and services to those with disabilities and/or disadvantages. It was over 10 years ago that we first hosted United Way Fox Cities for a diaper repack at our Kensington Production Facility, and our relationship with the United Way Fox Cities Diaper Bank has grown immensely since.
When conversations first started about the expansion, (from borrowing space in one of our IPAs (Isolated Production Areas) to a more permanent Hub) we had many reasons to be excited.
It was our chance to bring our expertise to something that benefits many in the community. It allowed us to give to United Way Fox Cities in a unique way – by way of space. It also allowed us to directly show the community and Diaper Bank volunteers what we do every day.
When diaper re-pack volunteers look out the glass doors in the Diaper Bank to our production floors, it will be obvious to them that part of the work that we do is contract packaging. What they might not see is that among our workforce are clients in our Pre-Employment and Exploration program, working alongside our technically skilled production workers to gain work skills, overcome barriers, and get hands-on training and support while doing so.
With this program already in place at our Kensington Production Facility, and with the support from United Way Fox Cities, we had the unique opportunity to expand the program once a week into the Hub and teach our clients new skills without having to leave the building.
During repacks, VPI clients will help get agencies and volunteers signed-in, use a walkie to let United Way staff know when someone arrives for pick-up, show them where they need to go, and assist with loading.
VPI Clients also now have the opportunity to work alongside volunteers during repacks. This will help our clients learn important work and communication skills, will serve as a way for volunteers to learn more about our work and give them an inside look into our mission, and will allow local businesses to see the value that individuals with non-traditional work skills can bring to the table.
Jarrod, one of our pre-employment clients, was the first to step in and work at the Hub. Jarrod enjoyed his experience at the Hub, and we are so excited to continue offering this new opportunity, with the support of United Way Fox Cities, to our clients.