Flowers Cut Weekly

“We like that the Challenge Commercial Cleaning team was willing to work with us on a posted weekly checklist. Anything comes up we leave it for the night crew and it’s taken care of before we return in the morning. Nice communication tool between our management staff and off-hours cleaning crew.”

Bryan, Ithaca

Glen Robertson
Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

Ability in Bloom was inspired by one young man, Adam. Adam has been growing flowers and food on a volunteer basis through programs at Challenge since 2008. Adam has tried various jobs at Challenge and in the community, but he is not able to work on his own. What Adam does have are the skills to help grow flowers as part of a larger team. Adam is also an artist whose paintings show a unique vision. His work appears in the logo for our business.

Ability in Bloom launched in 2015 as a means of providing Adam and other Challenge clients who are not ready or able to make the leap into community employment with job skills training and a stable, community- based work opportunity. The workers in this innovative social enterprise are able to use their unique abilities to be productive members of a team. Employees of Ability in Bloom work out in the field and at sales locations to produce beautiful flowers. Some of our employees may move on to other jobs or stay as permanent members of the team.
This year, we have formed a partnership with Take Your Pick Flower Farm in Lansing, NY. We aim to show that employing workers with disabilities can help small businesses expand while maintaining a healthy bottom line.
Currently, we grow flowers at the Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming Incubator Farm at Ecovillage and at the Ithaca Community Garden. Next year, we will grow at the Incubator Farm while transitioning our operations to a permanent location.

For further information please contact Glen Robertson by completing this form in as much detail as possible:

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Are you a local employer interested in building a stronger, more inclusive team? Join us next Thursday for our first LUNCH & LEARN!

The learning is remote but the lunch is real, thanks to our friends at Wegmans and our intrepid prevocational participants who will be making deliveries!

Register for FREE today: bit.ly/lunchone
... See MoreSee Less

Are you a local employer interested in building a stronger, more inclusive team? Join us next Thursday for our first LUNCH & LEARN!

The learning is remote but the lunch is real, thanks to our friends at Wegmans and our intrepid prevocational participants who will be making deliveries!

Register for FREE today: http://bit.ly/lunchone

Dear community partners,

On behalf of the Challenge Workforce Solutions Board of Directors, I am delighted to announce that we have finalized an alliance agreement with another regional non-profit agency, Mozaic, effective April 7, 2021.

This is an outcome that our board and leadership team have been working towards for several months and we are very excited about what this means for the future of the organization.

With over a century of combined service to thousands of individuals across the Finger Lakes region of New York, Mozaic and Challenge have long shared a common commitment: building one strong community where people with varying abilities and barriers gain independence and become an integral part of society.

In 2020, we began exploring the idea of forming an alliance to broaden and strengthen this vital mission. We saw that each partner would bring a unique and symbiotic set of skills to the table.

Mozaic, created upon the merger of the Arc of Seneca Cayuga and the Arc of Yates (The Arc New York/The Arc of the United States) early last year, is a premiere provider with a comprehensive range of clinical, residential, educational, vocational and day service programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities, as well as a thriving integrated enterprise, Finger Lakes Textiles, which has been manufacturing Arctic Gear winter hats and other apparel for U.S. Armed Forces and the public for over 25 years.

Challenge, as many of you know, is regionally distinctive in its specialized focus on community-based prevocational and supported employment services for people with disabilities, mental health diagnoses, and socioeconomic or legal obstacles, as well as its suite of flexible contract staffing solutions that augment essential operations at Cornell University, Cayuga Medical Center, Wegmans, and many other top area employers.

This alliance will position both agencies to offer a more robust array of person-centered, community-integrated services to an expanded geographical area while promoting fiscal sustainability and opening up new avenues for innovation.

On April 7, we welcomed aboard current Mozaic CEO Allen Connely as President and CEO of Challenge Workforce Solutions. Having lived and worked in over twenty countries before stepping into leadership positions at the Keystone Blind Association and then Mozaic, Allen brings a wealth of experience in human services and the business world.

Allen says, “We are excited about this alliance with Challenge. Both organizations strive to provide the highest quality of service and share commonalities in our culture and best practices. The biggest sources of opportunity come through collaborations with excellent organizations and Challenge definitely exemplifies excellence.”

Challenge Workforce Solutions will be retaining its 501(c)(3) status, its staff, its administrative offices and production center at the South Hill Business Campus, and its numerous community partnerships and connections. For program participants, families, and employers, there won’t be any day-to-day changes, and for donors, your generous financial gifts will continue to support Challenge programming.

If you do have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to check our FAQ section at aboutchallenge.org, or contact our Director of Development and Marketing, Tess Fraser, at tess@aboutchallenge.org or 607-272-8990 ext. 125.

As always, we are so grateful for your support—thank you for being part of the Challenge family!

Best,

Kelley Cooper
Chair, Board of Directors
Challenge Workforce Solutions
... See MoreSee Less

Dear community partners,  

On behalf of the Challenge Workforce Solutions Board of Directors, I am delighted to announce that we have finalized an alliance agreement with another regional non-profit agency, Mozaic, effective April 7, 2021.

This is an outcome that our board and leadership team have been working towards for several months and we are very excited about what this means for the future of the organization. 

With over a century of combined service to thousands of individuals across the Finger Lakes region of New York, Mozaic and Challenge have long shared a common commitment: building one strong community where people with varying abilities and barriers gain independence and become an integral part of society. 

In 2020, we began exploring the idea of forming an alliance to broaden and strengthen this vital mission. We saw that each partner would bring a unique and symbiotic set of skills to the table. 

Mozaic, created upon the merger of the Arc of Seneca Cayuga and the Arc of Yates (The Arc New York/The Arc of the United States) early last year, is a premiere provider with a comprehensive range of clinical, residential, educational, vocational and day service programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities, as well as a thriving integrated enterprise, Finger Lakes Textiles, which has been manufacturing Arctic Gear winter hats and other apparel for U.S. Armed Forces and the public for over 25 years.

Challenge, as many of you know, is regionally distinctive in its specialized focus on community-based prevocational and supported employment services for people with disabilities, mental health diagnoses, and socioeconomic or legal obstacles, as well as its suite of flexible contract staffing solutions that augment essential operations at Cornell University, Cayuga Medical Center, Wegmans, and many other top area employers. 

This alliance will position both agencies to offer a more robust array of person-centered, community-integrated services to an expanded geographical area while promoting fiscal sustainability and opening up new avenues for innovation. 

On April 7, we welcomed aboard current Mozaic CEO Allen Connely as President and CEO of Challenge Workforce Solutions. Having lived and worked in over twenty countries before stepping into leadership positions at the Keystone Blind Association and then Mozaic, Allen brings a wealth of experience in human services and the business world. 

Allen says, “We are excited about this alliance with Challenge. Both organizations strive to provide the highest quality of service and share commonalities in our culture and best practices. The biggest sources of opportunity come through collaborations with excellent organizations and Challenge definitely exemplifies excellence.” 

Challenge Workforce Solutions will be retaining its 501(c)(3) status, its staff, its administrative offices and production center at the South Hill Business Campus, and its numerous community partnerships and connections. For program participants, families, and employers, there won’t be any day-to-day changes, and for donors, your generous financial gifts will continue to support Challenge programming.
 
If you do have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to check our FAQ section at aboutchallenge.org, or contact our Director of Development and Marketing, Tess Fraser, at tess@aboutchallenge.org or 607-272-8990 ext. 125.

As always, we are so grateful for your support—thank you for being part of the Challenge family! 

Best, 

Kelley Cooper 
Chair, Board of Directors 
Challenge Workforce Solutions

April is also #NationalPoetryMonth! Here's one from Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine by John Lee Clark, a DeafBlind poet from Minnesota.

=====

At the Holiday Gas Station

Near the Naked Juices I passed
A man my fingers walking
Across his back he turned and held up
A box said what
Might this be I said oh
You’re tactile too what’s your name
He said William Amos Miller I said
I thought you were born in 1872 he said so
You know who I am yes you’re the man
Who journeyed to the center of Earth
In your mind he smiled on my arm said do
You know that the Earth also journeyed
To the center of my mind I said
I never thought of that he asked
Again about the box I shook it sniffed
Said Mike and Ike is it fruit
He inquired not exactly well
I think I shall have an apple wait
You haven’t paid oh
My money nowadays is no money he pushed
Outside we walked across the ice
To the intersection he made to go across
Wait you can’t go across we have to wait
For help oh help he said crouching
Until our hands touched the cold ground
He said I said we said we see
With our hands I jumped up and said you’re the man

=====

[Photo description: John Lee Clark in ProTactile conversation with poets Hayley Broadway, to his left, and Rhonda Voight-Campbell, to his right. All three are dressed colorfully and seated in black folding chairs. Protactile interpreters wearing all black are seated behind each, and have their fingertips placed on the conversants’ backs. A fourth interpreter, Gerard Williams, holds a microphone to narrate the conversation. Support service provider Stacie Stelmach is seated to his right.]
... See MoreSee Less

April is also #NationalPoetryMonth! Heres one from Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine by John Lee Clark, a DeafBlind poet from Minnesota.

=====

At the Holiday Gas Station

Near the Naked Juices I passed
A man my fingers walking
Across his back he turned and held up
A box said what
Might this be I said oh
You’re tactile too what’s your name
He said William Amos Miller I said
I thought you were born in 1872 he said so
You know who I am yes you’re the man
Who journeyed to the center of Earth
In your mind he smiled on my arm said do
You know that the Earth also journeyed
To the center of my mind I said
I never thought of that he asked
Again about the box I shook it sniffed
Said Mike and Ike is it fruit
He inquired not exactly well
I think I shall have an apple wait
You haven’t paid oh
My money nowadays is no money he pushed
Outside we walked across the ice
To the intersection he made to go across
Wait you can’t go across we have to wait
For help oh help he said crouching
Until our hands touched the cold ground
He said I said we said we see
With our hands I jumped up and said you’re the man

=====

[Photo description: John Lee Clark in ProTactile conversation with poets Hayley Broadway, to his left, and Rhonda Voight-Campbell, to his right. All three are dressed colorfully and seated in black folding chairs. Protactile interpreters wearing all black are seated behind each, and have their fingertips placed on the conversants’ backs. A fourth interpreter, Gerard Williams, holds a microphone to narrate the conversation. Support service provider Stacie Stelmach is seated to his right.]
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