APCOM has been a longtime partner of Habitat for Humanity and recently provided support again this year for the 2016 Home Builders Blitz in Williamson County, Tennessee. As part of this partnership, APCOM was proud to donate a water heater for the new home presented to Kyndra Jones and her two daughters, Rakyia (14) and Kaidyn (6), in March 2016.
“BrightStone was created to give our adults a reason to wake up every morning, knowing they have something of value to do,” Founder and Executive Director of BrightStone, Brenda Hauk said.
Adopted by APCOM as its charity of choice, BrightStone is a non-profit organization in Franklin, TN providing a post-secondary comprehensive work and social support program for adults with special needs.
“BrightStone is actually located down the street from our Franklin facility. Eddie Goodwin, our former president, learned about what they do; we visited them and basically adopted them as our charity of choice in 2009,” Human Resources and EHS Manager, Mike Galloway said.
Shortly after APCOM adopted BrightStone, the A. O. Smith Foundation announced it would support the organization in 2010. The organization’s strong commitment of providing hope and a sustainable life for individuals who are developmentally challenged aligned perfectly with the Foundation’s mission.
BrightStone serves as a transitional job training and life-training center supporting adults ages 21 and up. The center strives to provide adults with a work-based learning program, offering a variety of activities and training to enhance production work habits and overall job skills.
“We found that there was a great need from parents and families of adults who have special needs to find a sustaining job. A lot of these adults would have an extreme part time job, which include maybe working five hours a week. So we needed to change that,” Brenda explained.
“After this finding, we made the commitment to help our adults get sustainable jobs. We have created collaboration with the community and have gained support and excitement for our adults to be working individuals!”
To enhance the adults’ work habits and skills for their jobs in the community, BrightStone offers a variety of activities and training which include:
- Vocational training: Learning to work;
- Lifelong training: Continuing to learn in areas such as; functional math and reading, general thinking skills, true life applications, manners and respect for others, appropriate work habits, the world around us, cooking and nutrition, and basic computer skills;
- Social awareness and recreation: Learning basic skills in self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and decision-making;
- Health and wellness: Learning to live a healthy life;
- Community awareness: Learning to participate in adult community activities, to partake of community transportation and other supports, and to be viable and active citizens;
- Music and the arts: Learning to express one’s self through choir, playing instruments, painting, drawing, and dance.
All these activities and training included through Brightstone aim to stimulate cognitive, physical, and motor development.
“We want our adults to experience an inner feeling of success and emotional fulfillment through accomplishing things at their highest level of independence,” Brenda said.
Not only has BrightStone made an impact on Franklin and the surrounding communities, but has also made an impact on the APCOM employees.
“Our employees have been participating in fundraisers and APCOM has made donations to different needs like a piano/keyboard and t-shirts for the Special Olympics,” Mike said.
Aside from participation and donations from the Foundation, APCOM has created a tradition of donating Thanksgiving turkeys to the adults and staff, participated in bowling teams, and has become regular customers of the BrightStone store that sells handcrafted products and works of arts from the adults.
The A. O. Smith Foundation, which will celebrate its Diamond anniversary next year, is a private, non-profit organization that contributes to qualifying charitable, educational, scientific, literary and civic organizations located primarily in communities where A. O. Smith Corporation has facilities. Support for the Foundation comes from the profits of A. O. Smith. Since its founding in 1955, the Foundation has provided more than $35 million in financial support for worthwhile community programs and organizations.
Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation Centers
APCOM has partnered with the Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation Centers (TRC) since 1975. The TRC began assembling plastic drain valves and has continued to add assembly work as the product base of APCOM grew. The TRC assembled 2.5 million drain valves, 5.5 million heat traps, and several smaller volume production items in 2012. There are 17 community TRCs serving clients throughout Tennessee.
The TRC provides comprehensive vocational evaluation services such as employee development, GED preparation, budgeting, basic computer skills, job readiness instruction and employment assistance. The staff works with clients to determine work interest and abilities, career exploration and planning. Performing work for area businesses helps clients build physical work tolerance, learn work skills, and gain “real world” work experience. When the clients have completed their training, the staff helps with job readiness instruction, resume development, and job search assistance. The TRC services are available to individuals with significant disabilities to enable them to return to employment.
Other Community Support
APCOM employees, along with several community organizations, recently donated old shoes to help the Siegal High School Lady Stars Basketball Secondhand Shoe Drive collect more than 30,000 shoes in four months, surpassing their goal of 25,000 shoes. The shoes helped raise funds for the team and will benefit microenterprise ventures in developing countries as well.