Project Name: Theo’s Bottle and Can Return
471 Albany Avenue
Kingston, NY 12401
As an organization that works for 1,300 people with intellectual or other developmental disabilities across two counties, Ulster-Greene ARC strives to ensure that each and every person feels that they are living “a full life.”
In the spring of 2011, a man named Theo left Ulster-Greene ARC’s sheltered work center to work at a neighborhood bottle and can redemption center. Although the job was a good fit for him and allowed him to earn a decent paycheck, a few months later, the center closed and Theo was left jobless. Undeterred, Theo began exploring the idea of creating a bottle and can redemption center within Ulster-Greene ARC. In January 2012, the agency proudly opened Theo’s Bottle and Can Return.
The business currently employs 8 individuals with I/DD at minimum wage or above and collects approximately 38,880 refundable items (aluminum, glass and plastic containers) weekly. From the time the products enter into the recycling centers, employees with I/DD are involved in every aspect of the job including secondary material sorting by distributor and the packaging of materials for shipment. Ulster-Greene ARC has created an environment in which customers can be helped quickly and efficiently, while workers with disabilities can showcase their talents to the general public.
As a recipient of the current grant offered by The Arc and The Alcoa Foundation, Ulster-Greene ARC plans to:
- Hire at least 3 additional part-time workers that may have more significant disabilities
- Increase exposure of innovative employment opportunities
- Increase the volume of recyclable materials collected
- Engage Alcoa volunteers to serve as role models to their current workforce
- Enhance marketing efforts to ensure that the stories of those with I/DD who are employed will be heard
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