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'Building his confidence': Non-profit making huge difference in the lives of rural families this Disability Awareness Month

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Posted at 5:32 AM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 08:04:58-04

FALL RIVER. Wis. — This pandemic has had far-reaching impacts on all of us. Especially for people living with physical or cognitive disabilities.

That isolated feeling can be even more magnified in our rural communities.

Non-profit Green Valley Enterprises Inc. in Beaver Dam has stayed in touch with this vulnerable community to help them find work. TMJ4 News met with two remarkable young men they helped train, apply for, and land a job at an area business.

Out of about 200 employees at Schumann Printers Incorporated, in Fall River, Austin Reinhard and Elias Chavez may be the most beloved. The men with special needs bring smiles to their co-workers faces in the recycling area up to three days a week.

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“Do you love work?” asked TMJ4 News’ Julia Fello.

“Yes!” Elias exclaimed.

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Austin Reinhard has been working at Schumann Printers for six years. He takes pride in his work.

"Because I make money,” said Austin, hoping to use his paycheck money to fix his snowmobile.

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The young men play an important role in helping the family-owned company reach its green goals. They sort the paper, cardboard, and plastics in the facility's recycling area.

“I like it. It’s a fun job,” said Austin, with a big smile.

By their side every shift is William Milbrot with non-profit Green Valley Enterprises. Milbrot explained that GVE trains each person who comes through their doors. GVE helps people train, build their resumes and then match their strengths with the best-fit employer looking for workers in the area.

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Milbrot shared how Austin has blossomed over the past six years at work.

“Austin, was very introverted. You can see the self-esteem that's risen," he said.

One of the newest hires is 18-year-old Elias Chavez, who set his heart on working for this Fall River business from the start.

"Elias was only interested in Schumann Printers,” said Wilmot, “It made that much of an impression on him. He liked the employees. He is definitely building his confidence.”

The impact of this initiative reaches farther than anyone could have imagined in the community. This includes how they have touched owner Mark Schumann’s heart. He loved to hear what the young men had to say about his second-generation business and, “to see how important it is to them.”

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He hopes more employers realize the impact people of all abilities can make on their business.”There's definitely a place for them, things they can do - it helps them so much personally, emotionally, and to really be part of society.”

There is no better time to reach out to Green Valley Enterprises, as October is National Disability Awareness Month.

Green Valley Enterprises also helps match special needs and disabled people with work. They can also help them build their resume, with volunteer work. Click here to learn more.

If you are an employer and are hoping to partner with this non-profit, click here to reach them.

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