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Helping Hands Neighborhood Car Wash

Helping Hands Neighborhood Car Wash Integrated Employee Troy Spain carefully washes a car.

To many, going to work every day is a chore, but to some, it is the very thing they desire. The Helping Hands Neighborhood Car Wash is providing the opportunity to be integrated into the workforce for individuals with developmental disabilities. 

Madison County Service Coordination (MCSC), First State Community Bank (FSCB), Helping Hands, Covenant Care and Darren's Detail Shop have come together to make this business a reality.

The official grand opening for the Helping Hands Neighborhood Car Wash will be from noon to 4 p.m., May 18 at 140 S. Main St. Cars will be washed inside and out for $20 per hour and Covenant Care will be grilling throughout the afternoon.

MCSC Executive Director Beth Baugh, FSCB Impact Project Coordinator Mindi Montgomery, Owner of Helping Hands Darren Rogers and Supervisor of Community Employment at Covenant Care Julie Crawford have been the boots on the ground working to secure funding, location, support staff and integrated employees to make this business a reality.

"The project basically was born because First State tries to put people and community first and foremost, they are a true community bank," Montgomery said. "Each branch is given a budget to do an impact project within the community. This year we have chosen this as our project. We basically will be funding the project and helping Darren and the integrated employees."

Baugh said MCSC's role is to put all the pieces together. She said the Department of Mental Health is really pushing that individuals with developmental disabilities be integrated into competitive employment.

"The point is not just to have them segregated, it's to integrate them into the workforce," Baugh said. "Every one of our integrated employees has a staff member who is there to assist them and be an advocate for their needs."

Rogers said the integrated employees are not pushed to the side but rather are right in the middle of everything working along side his other employees and are earning minimum wage.

"I have the expertise in what we are doing and they (FSCB) have the expertise in funding," Rogers said. "They (MCSC) understand their people and they (Covenant Care) understand the staff and what their needs are. It's really been good to see it all come together."

Rogers said the whole project is creating hours for the integrated employees which then goes back into the community.

"We need to let people know that we are here and this is something we want to do because most of our individuals are capable and they want to work in they community," Baugh said. "They want to be able to have that regular job. With this push and this grand opening it's really going to help to show we are here and this is what we are doing."

Rogers said the integrated employees have seen how hard everyone has been working on making the grand opening bigger and better for them and it has made them even more excited. 

"There really is no profit other than for those doing the work," Rogers said. "That is kind of how we have it set up. It was never really a money venture it's a give back. I've been here 20 years cleaning cars so it feels good to do that. I feel pretty blessed."

Montgomery said this is a new business in Fredericktown that will continue to be open and provide a service on a regular basis.

Rogers said a regular-sized car on average will take an hour costing $20, some larger vehicles may take two hours costing $40. The service includes wash, dust, vacuum and windows at $20 per hour.

"It's better than you would get at a car wash, but not as much as a full detail," Rogers said.

Montgomery said one of the goals is to have local businesses commit to having perhaps one vehicle a month cleaned. The Helping Hands Neighborhood Car Wash would come pick up the vehicle, clean it, and return it to the business. She said this would help make the hours less sporadic.

"For us it is very convenient and our staff get our cars done a lot, and they do a great job," Baugh said. "Between them and Darren's staff we love getting our cars done. They do a really good job."

Baugh said for the integrated employees it is a sense of pride that they are being thanked for doing a great job and also that they are integrated in with other people. 

"Other than what their assistant has them do once they are trained, I don't interfere with them," Rogers said. "They know their job. They come in. They do it. I pat them on the back, and let them know how much I appreciate them."

Baugh said they get a sense of pride knowing they have a real job in the community, one they are able to do well and that people value.

"For us it's all about helping our individuals have enriched lives, be integrated and make that competitive wage," Baugh said. "They are able to do that and we would like to see that for them." 

Baugh said they are always working toward finding additional employers throughout the community because some of the integrated employees have different interests.

To have your car washed by the Helping Hands Neighborhood Car Wash come by 140 S. Main St. May 18 between noon and 4 p.m. or make an appointment for another day by calling 573-440-4850 or visiting @HelpingHands on Facebook. 

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Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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