Oct, 2015 | Volume 5 



By Ron Anderson
I don't remember what prompted his interest in recycling, but Max has had that interest for a long time. We recycle at our house, and Max is a stickler for thoroughness and  consistency. Paper, plastic and metal must go in the recycle bin. Max will sift through the trash cans to make sure we aren't cheating. Even the smallest bit of paper will get transferred to the bin. Max got quite upset when he learned that the city was no longer going to recycle glass. He understands why, or at least why the city says they don't recycle glass, but I don't think he is through with his displeasure.
When he was doing a volunteer work at TJ Maxx, in the Ready to Work program through his school (Hardaway High), he noticed that TJ Maxx didn't recycle at all, and he became quite upset about it. He complained to the supervisor and then the manager, and at first got no positive response. He even started sneaking their paper and plastic home in his pockets to mix with our own recycling. The store discovered that and told Max he couldn't do that, amounting to taking company property. He stopped bringing home paper and plastic, but continued to complain until the store started a recycle program. 
He was concerned enough about it to write to the corporate office, telling them of his concerns. To our surprise, Max got a letter back, explaining how TJ Maxx recycles on a national level and allows individual stores to set their own policies. 
Debbie and I both work at the Springer, so Max has spent many, many hours there growing up. He has also been a student at the Springer Theatre Academy for a number of years. Consequently, Max has often observed the wasteful, non-recycling practices of our theatre. He has of course complained about it, but I was not able to put into place a program that would satisfy him. That is until this summer. Now that I have retired, I had time to work out a system with Max to implement at the Springer. He and I started the program in June when the Theatre Academy was in session. The program continues this fall, with Max and Mikayla Cypert, his community access helper through his Medicaid waiver. 
As a trial effort to expand the program, we have approached Access to Independence, a local agency which assists people with disabilities to live more independently. We talked to their director, Nichole Davis, about being a part of Max's recycling program. They were receptive and Max and Mikayla will begin picking up their recyclables this Friday. 
A local videographer, Hal Pope, has taken a personal interest in Max. Hal has agreed to make a promotional video about his project. They are already talking about the video, camera shots, voice overs, testimonials, etc, and next week, Hal will begin filming Max as he makes his recycling rounds. The intention is to create a 2-3 minute piece that Max can use to approach several local businesses to expand the scope of the project. Max will determine which businesses we approach and how many. (He is aware of a number of law offices in our neighborhood - that might be a good place to start.) We want him to expand his project as much or as little as he wishes. We will make sure the expansion is measured and manageable. 
 Cover Photo: Max Anderson and Mikayla Cypert 

T.J. Maxx Companies, Inc.
770 Cochituate Road
Framingham, MA 01701
To whom it may concern:
My name is Max P. Anderson. I am a student at Hardaway High School in Columbus, GA. I have been working at one of your stores for some time. I am very upset about the lack of recycling paper.
I personally try to recycle everything I can because it is bad for the environment if we don't. Our planet must be saved from destruction. All of the paper from every T.J. Maxx store would add up to a lot of trees and that worries me so much.
I would like to respectfully request that all T.J. Maxx stores around the world have a new policy that requires recycling of all paper and any other recyclable resources. Thank you for considering my request.
Max P. Anderson
Participant in the Ready 2 Work group, Muscogee County School District

By Aarti Sahgal

On June 21, 2015 Narae, Lucy and I boarded a flight to Philadelphia to attend the APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First) Annual National Conference. Narae Ahn had been nominated for the personal Achievement Award by the Georgia Chapter of APSE.
It was the first time that Georgia had nominated any individual to receive this honor. It was also the first time Narae was boarding a flight in 30 years. The last time she travelled by plane was when she migrated from South Korea to the United States with her parents in 1985.
Narae was clearly excited about her adventure and couldn't stop smiling. No amount of airline mismanagement or delays could dampen her spirits.
Pictured at left are: Aarti Sahgal,Narae and Lucy Ahn

The awards luncheon ceremony on June 23, took Lucy by surprise. She had not anticipated the large crowd (there were more than 1,000 people) or the elaborate ceremony. She was nervous but proud -- proud of Narae and her accomplishments. Last year has been transformative for both Lucy & Narae. Narae is not only working but also volunteering in her community and there are many people who are now part of their circle of friends.
I am not ashamed to admit that both Lucy and I cried and beamed with pride as we watched Narae glow with happiness and enjoy all the attention that was showered on her. It was, indeed, a proud moment for the entire Georgia team!
Pictured at right are Mitzi Proffitt, Bonnie Seery, Aarti Sahgal, Narae and Lucy Ahn. 

It does not take long after meeting Bryan to see that he is a friendly and outgoing person who enjoys life. He is thrilled to spend time with family and friends and is always eager to talk and listen. While Bryan does not use many words to communicate, his smile says everything!  Bryan is an outgoing young man whose zest for life is evidenced by the number of people in the hallway of the facility who stop by to say hello. His personality is one that draws people to him and makes one want to know more about his life and his aspirations.    
Bryan is one of 4 children: an older sister, a younger brother and a younger sister. As a child, Bryan lived with his parents, Mary and Mark Hammer, at the Fort Benning Army Base. He graduated from Columbus High School where he participated in various school organizations that included: Future Business Leaders of America, National Art Honor Society, Art Club, and Spanish Club. 
Following graduation, Bryan enrolled at Columbus State University to pursue a major in Business Management. During his time at Columbus State, he began exploring the music technology industry, as he has a passion for music and production. At age 18, Bryan was injured in a car accident while driving home from a friend's house in October of 2006. He currently has a Facebook page that his parents maintain so that his friends are up to date with Bryan and his life. His favorite words are "you better believe it" and "wonderful" which he uses frequently highlighted by an amazing smile and natural warmth that one cannot help but absorb when in his presence.   
Bryan continues to maintain a positive attitude and his PATH meeting gave voice to his dreams! He  expressed his desire to leave the nursing facility and return to life in the community so he can attend church, spend time with his family, maintain friendships with past schoolmates, and pursue his interests in music production. He enjoys eating out at local restaurants or just listening to music while hanging out with friends. His favorite music stations are 98.3 and Magic 101, but he appreciates all types of music.    
Bryan's family is actively involved in their faith community and Grace Baptist Church continues to support them as they pursue home and community based services through the state's Medicaid waiver programs so that Bryan can leave the facility and return to the life he has planned for himself.    

(Pictured above are: Lillian Burdette, Gillian Grable, Mary Hammer, Mark Hammer, Jeremy Rands, Bryan Padilla and O'Ree Crittenden.)

After Nine Years, Bryan returns to Grace Baptist
Gillian Grable
Brass chandeliers, each with ten candle-shaped bulbs, lit the sanctuary. During the greeting, church members came by to hug Bryan, his Mom smiling at his side.
Bryan sang, "Blessed Assurance" along with the rest of his congregation and "Amen" after the prayer for the offering. When the pastor said "God loves a cheerful giver" Bryan responded, "You better believe it."
Saying goodbye, one church member said to Bryan's Mom, "It was so nice to have Bryan here today - he made the spirit of the church."