by KELSEY JORDAN
Best Buddies Massachusetts
At the start of 2010 Best Buddies and Cardinal Cushing Centers paired up to introduce the Best Buddies Jobs program to student-aged participants in the vocational program in Hanover. Cardinal Cushing Centers is a non-profit school that works to prepare students with disabilities with an education and vocational training that will allow them to succeed after graduation.
Because of their extensive vocational training, Cardinal Cushing students are prepared to excel in competitive work environments. The goals of the Best Buddies Jobs program and Cardinal Cushing Centers compliment one another and offer exciting opportunities for the students.
Through the Best Buddies Jobs program, five students have been placed in jobs in the Hanover area including Verc Enterprises Briteway Carwash, The Fresh Market, Super Stop & Shop and Cohasset Cycles.
Verc Enterprises is retail convenience store/gasoline station group operating in twenty locations in MA and NH. Most recently Leo Vercollone, President of Verc Enterprises, raised his employee population of people with disabilities to 15%. In March, Verc Enterprises hired two Best Buddies participants from Cardinal Cushing Centers at their Norwell Briteway carwash.
Josh and Brandon, were hired to perform maintenance work around the carwash. Originally, they were responsible for cleaning the vacuums, waiting area and washing the windows. After their first couple weeks, they were excited to be given the opportunity to help the other employees in the carwash tunnel during their “down time” at work. Two months later, Josh and Brandon are enjoying working full time in the “tunnel”, as they call it, power washing the cars before they enter the carwash.
Another Best Buddies Cardinal Cushing participant, Robert, began working at The Fresh Market, a specialty super market in Hingham in March. He is a courtesy clerk bagging groceries and carrying them out to customer’s cars. Robert loves his new position and is striving to reach a goal of moving up to cashier in the next couple months.
Other Best Buddies Cardinal Cushing participants, Michael and Dustin, work at Super Stop & Shop as a bagger and Cohasset Cycles as a bicycle tuner.
Manager of Stop & Shop, Colin Macloud sought out Best Buddies when he knew he had a position to hire for as he was already familiar with the hard working and positive ethics Cardinal Cushing students have.
Bicycling has been Dustin’s favorite hobby for a long time and he spends most of his free time either riding or repairing bikes around Cardinal Cushing. On Dustin’s first day at Cohasset Cycles, owner John Wilkie, had set up a bicycle tuning stand for him and asked him to dive right in. Four bicycles later when asked what Dustin thought of his new position he replied “just another day in paradise.” Best Buddies is thrilled to be working with such a positive student population at Cardinal Cushing.