It all started in February of 2019 when Brevard Achievement Center (BAC) reached out to Shannon Landin, CEO/Founder of Codecraft Works, to collaborate on a technical training program. Together, they piloted a program funded by Vocational Rehabilitation, Fibonacci, focused on bringing technical skills to individuals with disabilities, with the goal of removing barriers, ensuring access, and practicing inclusion for all people. As a referral from BAC, Landin met Carl, who joined the program’s first cohort and made an impression on everyone he interacted with along the way.
The path to acquiring these skills was not without bumps in the road. When the program started, sessions were being held in person; then, because of COVID-19, Codecraft had to quickly pivot, bringing all of the programming online for remote instruction and collaboration. Carl did not miss a beat switching to a virtual environment, and when he did run into issues with his home computer or felt a little hesitant about the work, BAC and Codecraft joined forces to provide Carl with a laptop, and they made sure he had the support and encouragement needed to keep pushing forward.
Landin’s desire to help break down barriers did not end at the completion of the program: “I am passionate about the success of every student and the mission of every partner. I know it takes a village! I didn’t want Carl to face his next steps alone, so I reached out to our community partners at Groundswell to see if they knew of any companies that would provide an opportunity for Carl to apply all of the skills acquired in the program.”
Enter the Evans Center, a nonprofit organization committed to eradicating food insecurity and raising the standard of health in the South Melbourne and Palm Bay communities. Being a community partner of Groundswell Startups and knowing the center had a need for technical assistance, Evans made the connection. “I thought the Evans Center would be a perfect opportunity for Carl, and Carl would be an excellent asset to the organization. LeAngela Aitken, the Center’s Executive Director, has a passion for helping those that may have a harder time accessing the resources they need for social and economic mobility. I knew she would have the passion and heart for this type of collaboration,” said COO of Groundswell Startups, Jarin Eisenberg.
After an interview, Carl was hired by the Evans Center as a Community Outreach Assistant. “Carl is working on several important projects for Evans that will bring awareness and exposure to the market. His posting of upcoming events, market specials, special recognition of employees and community members, and nutrition and health tips has significantly increased likes and traffic to our social media sites. He’s also monitoring comments to ensure we respond promptly,” said Aitken.
BAC has been there throughout Carl’s journey; and continue to regularly checking in to make sure he has everything he needs. “Carl is a true team player and loves to be part of a team. Like all of us, he sometimes needs some extra encouragement to share his thoughts and ideas. He is a very creative individual when you get to know him, and we can all learn from being around Carl!” said Susan Bassett, Employment Consultant for BAC.
In addition to Carl’s website and social media responsibilities, he is also helping with the production of virtual cooking classes. “I didn’t realize how much help I needed until Carl arrived and plugged in immediately. He’s been a great addition to our team,” said Aitken.
This is a shining example of what can happen when community partners work together to advocate for the clients they serve, and work in a collaborative way to promote, connect, and help all members of the community gain access to social and economic opportunities.
For more information on Codecraft Works: https://www.codecraftworks.com/
For more information on Brevard Achievement Center: https://bacbrevard.com/
For more information on The Evans Center: https://evanscenter.org/