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TRC selected as 2020 Visionary winner for community service

Peter takes part in the "Inspirational Picnic Table" project at TRC's Gateways PROS program. PROS clients printed inspirational messages on the picnic tables and benches located at TRC's facility on Lake Shore Drive. Peter's message reads, "Don't forget to be awesome!" Submitted Photo.

The Resource Center in Chautauqua county has helped thousands of people succeed as well as helped them with personal needs ranging from day services and self-advocacy to counseling and other medical needs.

“We have the best jobs in the world, we get to help people have great lives,” Steve Waterson, director of community relations stated citing the words of Denise Jones, the Resource Center’s executive director. “That statement in essence sums up what TRC employees have been doing since the agency was established in 1958 — supporting people with disabilities in Chautauqua County to lead fulfilling, meaningful lives. And through those efforts TRC — and the people with disabilities they support — have been making our community a better place.”

It’s true, the Resource Center does so much for the community such as the Laurel Run and Toys for Tots, just to name a couple. They are also one of the area’s largest employers with more than 1,400 employees spread amongst 40-plus worksites.

At the core of their organization, which dates back to 1958, is working with intellectually and developmentally disabled people. The organization boasts 30 homes and four day programming sites for this population.

“Almost as soon as The Resource Center began providing support to people with disabilities in Northern Chautauqua County, the Resource Center began having a positive impact on the community,” Waterson shared. “People with disabilities, who were enrolled in TRC’s work training programs performed subcontracting work for local businesses. To this day, TRC’s manufacturing centers in Dunkirk and Jamestown continues to provide support to dozens of local businesses, as well as to the federal government.”

Staff and residents of TRC's home on Water Street in Fredonia donate money to the Fredonia Fire Department. Submitted Photo.

This however is not all that they do. Alone or with their support staff from TRC’s homes and Day Habilitation programs, people with disabilities have volunteered for local non-profit organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Willow Mission, Lakeshore Humane Society, The Salvation Army, and area food pantries. They also have held fund-raisers to benefit local fire departments and the Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum, and participated in walkathons to aid organizations such as the March of Dimes. And they’ve gathered donations of food and other items to benefit food pantries, Blue Star Mothers and needy families at the holidays.

“Many people with disabilities possess hidden, untapped talents and expertise. Part of our job at The Resource Center is to support people with disabilities in discovering what they’re good at doing, and then helping find ways to let their abilities shine,” Jones said. “When people with disabilities have the opportunity to ‘flex their muscles’ and show what they can do – through the arts, or by obtaining work, or by volunteering in the community – they astound not only themselves but the community at large with what they are able to accomplish. And they make our society better and more complete.”

It’s no doubt The Resource Center has left an indelible mark on the community, they’re care of individuals and the most vulnerable among us makes them a notable example of community service at its best.

It’s for this reason that The Resource Center has earned the OBSERVER’s 2020 Visionary Award for Community Service.

For more information about The Resource Center visit resourcecenter.org or call 483-2344.

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