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Care-Rite clients develop their skills all over Fallbrook

Lucette Moramarco

Associate Editor

At the Care-Rite Vocational Services’ open house Sept. 9, visitors toured the new workshop established for its Micro-Businesses program. Despite the rainy weather outside, there was plenty of action inside the building on Aviation.

Several clients, adults with intellectual disabilities, arrived to put together flowers in vases while a couple of the staff members led the tours.

Each room houses a different part of the program. Across the hall from the Flowers Done Rite micro business is the Knitted Beanies room where skeins of yarn and round knitting looms are stored. The weather has been too hot for the clients to work on the looms, so that project is on hold. When they do start again, those who can’t wrap the yarn around the loom pegs, wind the yarn into balls for those who can make the beanies that they sell or donate.

Business development and employment specialist Joyce Meeks explained to visitors that everyone helps paint barn quilt wall hangings, “using whatever skill they have, painting lines or just priming the board.” The goal is to master new skills at whatever level they are capable of doing.

A newer project, started three months ago, is tie-dying shirts and socks. Care-Rite has one washing machine and two dryers, all donated, for this endeavor. The clients learn how to make designs by tying rolled up shirts in different places. The purpose is to “give skills they may not have had exposure to,” Meeks said.

She said she taught art to special education students at Fallbrook High School before coming to Care-Rite. They are also experimenting with using bleach on colored shirts for a different effect. Many of the shirts come from donations of clothing to Hidden Treasures Thrift Store, Care-Rite’s first micro business.

Their clients also work around town, sweeping sidewalks and picking up trash, as well as collecting recyclable bottles and cans at participating businesses. Once the teams bring the recyclables back to the workshop, different groups sort them all before a staff member turns them in at a recycling center. The workers involved get to split the money made this way.

Meeks said that the micro businesses are developed with three factors involved: 1. Think seasonally, 2. Look at the customer base, 3. Look at the skills of the clients. The flower shop is one project that is year round. They currently have 60 flower subscribers who pay $60 for six months of weekly flowers delivered to their homes or businesses.

The clients put together the flowers in vases and deliver them to the subscribers of Flowers Done Rite, where they pick up the previous vases which are cleaned before being refilled. They have a refrigerator display case to keep the flowers fresh while they wait to be delivered.

Flowers that don’t make it into the vases are dried and made into pot pourri which is sold along with their other products. They set up their booth the first and fourth Thursday of the month at Hidden Treasures from 9-11 a.m., the second Thursday at Grocery Outlet and the third Thursday at Major Market. They are also planning to have it all available on their website by the end of the year,

While they would love to have a booth at the Saturday Farmers Market downtown, Meeks said they would need a volunteer to be in charge of it as the staff already works full time.

Care-Rite has 43 clients in Fallbrook where they develop the micro business projects which are then started at their Temecula location which has 165 clients. Some of the local clients also work part-time for local businesses including Nessy Burger and Z Cafe. Teams are available to clean offices for an hour a week, doing vacuuming and dusting.

For more information on any of these programs, call Meeks at the office, 760-728-6951, or on her cell phone, 951-691-2278.


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