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The Dalton Public Schools Nutrition Department was awarded the Full Circle Award on October 26 at the Cross Plains Employee Appreciation Luncheon. The Full Circle award goes to a business or employer that has demonstrated their best practices by including people with disabilities in the internal and external communications, strengthening the corporate brand and overall image in the community.
Cross Plains' Project Search program helps place individuals with disabilities in the work force in positions where they can be successful and thrive. DPS has three individuals currently working for school nutrition at Dalton High School and Dalton Middle School through the program.
Cross Plains Supported Employment Manager Allison Whittle said the DPS school nutrition managers and Director Wimberly Brackett have gone above and beyond to see the successful outcomes since the partnership started three years ago. "These individuals have benefited from our DPS partnership with employment-to-empower that working matters for all people," she said. "It has given them a sense of responsibility to help with their families and also a sense of contribution and personal accomplishment in the workplace."
Brackett said the partnership has been a win-win for both parties as "the Project Search employees are so reliable, consistent, and have great work ethics."
Savannah Davenport has worked in the Dalton High School cafeteria for the past few years and said she enjoys the atmosphere. "I have to work hard, but I like working hard!" she said. "I like interacting with people. My coworkers have become my friends. One student, Madison, has become a good friend around here. I give her a cookie and blue chip every day – I always know exactly what she wants."
Davenport looks back on her first days at the job when she did not know anybody. "That just feels like a memory now," she said. "It's been a great time working here. I don't think I'd ever quit because it would be too heartbreaking."