We’re glad we were able to update one of the bathrooms at Ralph Plumb. As residents in that home age, they need more accessibility, which the walk-in shower provides. It’s great when the state is relatively current with payments and we can do the occasional thing like this. We’ve got two more bathrooms to update on our list. We’re hoping we can get to one next Spring. We’ll have to wait and see as the current state budget isn’t really constructed for 12 months–it’s built to get through the November election.
What a beautiful photo…all the work, all the effort, all the commotion to build the new home. A picture like this, some relaxation on the patio on an unexpectedly beautiful July day reminds us why we do it all, every day.
It’s been a busy summer so far. Here’s Paul folding instruction sheets as part of a new job:
Here’s where the shelter will be in our garden area:
Morning papers in Modisty’s class.
The Foundation’s Annual Chicken Dinner fundraiser is Sunday, May 4, from 3-6:00 PM at Cheapseats. Most recently, the Foundation sponsored the great pizza/bingo party this week at St. Paul’s. It funds some great social and community opportunities that otherwise would not be available to the people we serve.
For some of us, these are tasks of drudgery. For others of us, it’s incredibly satisfying to be able to get the basic maintaining of things accomplished. We’ve had to put so many things like that off with all the state funding headaches over recent years that it’s just lovely to be able to get some gravel on our lumpy and pitted parking lot (what a long winter it was!); do some spring cleaning (OK, 7 springs’ worth of cleaning) and keep on working.
We enjoyed having US Representative Adam Kinzinger come and tour yesterday. Self Advocate Lorri Melrose set it all up. She’s on the right in the photo below.
Kay and Adam did a little cooking in the kitchen this weekend.
A terrific year for Food for Thought. We truly appreciate this support for those programs whose funding was eliminated by the state a few years ago. Thank you to all who made it such a success!
Every once in awhile someone wonders why we don’t do those off-the-street paint line jobs anymore. The ones where somebody brings by one part for their car, or a few pieces of metal for a flag or a bench or something like that. After all, we ask (and are generously given) support by our Streator community, so why would we ever turn away work?
The main reason for this is cost. The variables on the paint line are the speed of the conveyor rack, the heat of the oven, and the paint we are using. Changing paint takes over an hour, so there is money spent and time lost when we do something very individualized. The speed of the conveyor and the heat of the oven have to match the surface area, density and thickness of the metal going through. If it doesn’t, instead of a nice coating, you either get something that will chip and peel right away or you get a piece of metal burned into something unrecognizable. If there is the tiniest bit of oil or rust on a part, the paint won’t adhere. Then it has to be sand-blasted either before being painted or after. We’re not well equipped to do much sand-blasting and the cost is prohibitive.
Finally, the paint line itself is not very cost-effective. The equipment and energy demands cost a lot and the funding we used to get to support supervision and supports for our consumers working there was cut several years ago. We’ve discussed closing it down completely and selling off the equipment every year or two. We value the jobs for our consumers, but can’t afford to have a job that doesn’t support itself.
The last time we had this discussion, we decided to leave the fate of the paint line up to our regular customers. We raised our prices by as much as 70% and decided that, if they continued to send us work, we’d keep the paint line going. Otherwise, we’d sell off the equipment and work harder on getting other types of jobs or on community employment. Fortunately, they kept sending us work and, because they are parts in larger runs and we’re familiar with the settings requirements, we can keep running the paint line in such a way that it covers its costs and contributes a small amount towards supporting our services.
Why not keep doing those little jobs and raise prices like we did for our larger customers? Mainly because we want to focus on the customers who are our main source of work and also because we’d have to charge so much for one little, unique part that it would be offensive to the potential customer. We have learned during the hard years that, much as we want to be, we can’t be everything to everyone, so keep our focus on things that most directly benefit the people we server and the direct care staff who support them.