ADVP services are designed to assist adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in developing independent living, prevocational, and socialization skills in a work setting. Individuals who participate in ADVP services are not expected to be eligible for employment in a competitive work setting within the next year. ADVP services are funded in part by state funds from local management entity, Smoky Mountain Center, and in part by income from work produced by Caldwell Opportunities itself. In addition to attaining work skills and receiving income for work based upon Wage-And-Hour laws, our participants are able to participate in non-paid activities geared toward enhancing their lives, such as community activities and a compensatory education program.
An individual must be at least 18 years old, have an intellectual and/or developmental disability diagnosis, and have a case manager.
Caldwell Opportunities currently has 50 ADVP participants with a 10:1 ratio of participants to staff who provide training in appropriate work behavior, such as punctuality, attention to detail, following directions, following safety rules, following program rules, staying on task, getting along with others, managing emotions, communication, etc. Each participant has a Person-Centered Plan which is individualized to that person’s needs and identifies support needs and goals for improvement in life skills.
Some of the activities in which our ADVP consumers participate are listed below:
- Compensatory Education Classes - COI ADVP Educational Servicesto improve academic and independent living skills in partnership with Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute. Some of the skill building areas addressed in the compensatory education classes are independent and daily living skills; functional math; functional literacy; healthy living through exercise and healthy eating; socialization; communication; and computer skills. Participants may develop skills by using computer programs, workbooks, worksheets, educational games, community outings related to class content, reading the newspaper together and discussing current events, and other group activities.
- Community Outings to JE Broyhill Civic Center for cultural events, local festivals and parks, which encourage integration in the community and provide opportunities to develop socialization and independent living skills, as well as special annual events sponsored by Sim’s BBQ, the Marion Moose Lodge, and the North Carolina Forestry Service.
- Safety Committee - Our safety committee is a rotating committee of ADVP program participants who do a safety walk-through each month and monitor our facility for safety hazard, such as blocked walkways, burned out exit lights, barriers in front of fire extinguishers, and unsafe conditions on the work floor. They also check the first aid boxes in our vans and in the facility to ensure that they are properly stocked. The committee has a formal meeting quarterly to review their findings, discuss solutions for problems, and provide input for our monthly safety meetings.
- Contract Work is available in conjunction with local businesses and gives ADVP participants the opportunity to develop prevocational skills while being paid according to strict guidelines of Wage-And-Hour laws.
Some of the types of work completed by our participants are as follows:
- Simple Assembly - Securing lids on various size jars, making leather care kits, folding corner pads for packaging furniture, separating IV bags, affixing trim clips to tape to be used in assembly lines, straightening labels for clothing, attaching washers to levelers for cases, assembling cardboard cartons, label and fill pumice stone powder for polishing and refinishing furniture, assembling edge pads and support boxes for packaging furniture, labeling market sample swatches for upholstery.
- Hand packaging - Packaging upholstery needles and felt tip replacements for furniture, packaging furniture refinishing kits, micro mesh kits for refinishing furniture, packaging gauze for medical care for soldiers, stringing silicone and packaging gun sacks.
- Salvage – Cutting and baling yarn from spools; separating, punching, and baling rubber tips from IV bags; collecting and banding recycled cardboard; baling upholstery scraps for resale; repairing cones from thread for resale.
- Woodworking – Cutting grade stakes for surveying; cutting cardboard strips for packaging furniture; cutting lumber into various lengths for local building supply company; drilling holes in boards for local furniture companies.
- Housekeeping – A rotating crew of participants complete housekeeping activities, such as sweeping; mopping; dusting; cleaning windows; wiping tables and chairs, cleaning the microwaves, refrigerators, and bathrooms; laundering towels, rags, and mop heads, etc.
- Van Detailing - Occasionally, participants may wash and clean out the vans.
- Grounds Maintenance - Some of our participants who enjoy the outdoors may plant flowers, weed the gardens, pick up trash from the grounds, weed eat, and/or water the plants.