The Baltimore Community Toolbank is a remarkable organization founded on the concept of strengthening communities by acting as a vital resource to local nonprofits. Organizations apply for membership to the Toolbank and once accepted they’re provided access to hundreds of tools that they would otherwise have to buy or lease.
Ian has worked at Toolbank for two hours a day, twice a week for the past year. He assists with cleaning the tools after they’ve been returned. This opportunity has enriched Ian’s life. He has found purpose and gained an extended network of friends and co workers. In order for Ian to be successful at work, he needs to be able to move around a lot and take breaks. Toolbank has provided the perfect work environment for Ian to be successful so that they can achieve their bottom line.
Itineris is grateful for the Toolbank’s commitment to adults with autism. By partnering with Itineris, Toolbank is bringing awareness and acceptance to the workforce about the value of hiring adults with autism.
“I really enjoy having Ian every week. It’s been an overall great experience. He’s very detail oriented. We have a lot of repetitive tasks that he handles for us,” remarked Rachel Thompson, Program Manager at the Toolbank.
Itineris and Toolbank connected at one of Toolbank’s member events where Itineris shared information about the employment program. Toolbank was interested in a partnership with Itineris. “We definitely wanted and needed the help so it was a win – win for everyone,” Rachel commented when asked about how Toolbank and Itineris connected.
This partnership has been meaningful for both Ian and Toolbank. On November 13th Ian will be performing “Great Balls of Fire” at Itineris’ Annual Patty Jean Flynn Talent Show. Ian’s co workers from Toolbank will be there cheering him on.
At the Hearing and Speech Agency, the Itineris adults shine. There are three adults placed in at HASA who work mostly independently, in jobs for which they are well-suited. Each of them work in Gateway School at HASA, which works with children from 2-12 years of age to provide a foundation of communication and life skills for any child who has issues communicating. Itineris individuals work throughout the organization to help fulfill their mission.
Robin is working to build an archive in preparation for the agency’s 90th anniversary. She scans a large library of historic books and documents into a digital library. She carefully picks up an old activity book from over fifty years ago and scans it “to have forever,” as she puts it.
Meanwhile, Brian is helping the agency move to electronic medical records. He scans and sorts the records, keeping them in order, and transforming the massive file room into a digital archive. “It’s definitely a process, and Brian picked up on it quickly,” his supervisor said. It’s an enormous undertaking, but Brian is more than up for the task. “I enjoy this job,” he said after showing us his meticulous process for keeping track of his progress and ensuring no record is passed over.
In the children’s library, Louie works to organize and return books. He has written his own joke book and always has quips up his sleeve. He’s found his niche in the library. “I love it here. I do perfect here every single day. I’ve never had a meltdown here.” His job coach smiles and nods. “It is very process-oriented, which Louie just took to.”
Louie is old friends with Robin, and enjoys being able to have lunch with her when they work on the same days. “There’s a community here. It’s good to see everything work,” Louie remarks. Louie and Brian were once students at Gateway School at the Hearing and Speech Agency. “All the students who come to Gateway love it here. It looks like home,” says Emily Dickerson, the community engagement manager. The Itineris adults certainly are a stunning example of how the right placements and a nurturing support structure can blossom into incredible student success.