OTTUMWA-Tenco is ready to welcome the community to visit their new location in Chariton. Tenco has begun to provide hourly residential and employment services for people with disabilities. Referrals have been coming in for individuals needing services and the Chariton staff is processing them as quickly as they can. In addition, Tenco’s thrift store is up and running.
Tenco started by operating a thrift shop in Centerville, called the ‘Second Time Around’, and has now opened a sister store in their Chariton building located at 245 E. Grace Ave.; providing community-based employment opportunities for people with disabilities. They also have plans to offer additional services to benefit the community in other parts of the building, and their offices will be located at that address as well. They will not be offering can redemption.
“We are excited to return to the Chariton area. Lucas County has been very supportive of Tenco services and the betterment of people with disabilities in the past and we look forward to building on that base,” stated Cheryl Plank, Tenco Executive Director.
Chariton’s Second Time Around Store has been busy preparing for their big grand opening. Clothes, shoes, books, and more have been organized for shoppers to find outstanding deals. There is something for everyone at this store and the inventory will continue to grow and have new items regularly. Their hours will be Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The big day for the grand opening has been set for May 19, 2017. There will be more details about the events of the Open House to come.
Previously, Tenco provided Pre-Vocational, Adult Day Habilitation, and residential services in Chariton. In 2010, when Tenco discontinued services in Lucas County, the agency’s total number of clients was diminishing and services were being reduced across the agency, so that Tenco services were only provided in two counties, Jefferson and Wapello. Under the leadership of a new Executive Director in 2011, Tenco was able to change direction and began expanding services, geographically and programmatically.
The leadership in Lucas County is not new to serving individuals. Regional Director Stephanie Gehlhaar has a bachelor’s degree and has worked in the human services field for over 25 years. She started as direct care professional and has moved up. She has worked in a variety of types of facilities including residential 24-hour care. Area Director Kimberlee Fletcher has Bachelor’s degree in human services, Sociology, and Psychology. She has worked in this field for over 25 years, starting as an SCL aide and working her way up.
Tenco is a non-profit corporation, founded in 1965, that currently serves nearly 320 people with disabilities. In this, their 52nd year, it now has operations in seven counties. They operate vocational programs in Centerville, Fairfield, and Ottumwa; Adult Day Habilitation services in Centerville, Fairfield, and Ottumwa; and residential services in Centerville, Keosauqua, Fairfield, Knoxville, Ottumwa, and Oskaloosa. Tenco also manages a Transition Home in Fairfield and Residential Care Facilities in Keosauqua and Knoxville.