Some people long to travel to faraway countries, to win the lottery or become celebrities; some yearn for home ownership or a high-powered career. While all those dreams might be fine for someone else, Barb Seevers had a more simple desire: to earn a living doing work that incorporated her passion for growing plants and flowers. Thanks to some collaboration between the Huron County Board of Developmental Disabilities (HCBDD) and Miller Landscape and Gardens, the Norwalk resident’s dream is becoming reality.
A recent visit to the Sand Road garden center found Seevers busy separating and transplanting tiny seedlings, working with great focus and precision with the delicate plants. She paused briefly to smile and explain her task before returning to the flats arranged on the greenhouse table before her. HCBDD’s Community Employment Job Developer, Mike Rey, stood back at a slight distance to observe Seevers’ progress and interactions with employees.
“Barb has done really well with taking direction from the staff here,” Rey said. “She has a great work ethic. I worked with Barb in a community-based assessment for three days, at four hours per day, before she was officially put on the payroll at Miller’s. She started out seeding, transplanting and watering in the greenhouses a couple of days a week; her hours will vary based on the availability of staff to provide supervision during their busiest times, but they’ll work with us moving forward and have been pleased with her work. This placement has been perfect for her; Miller’s is all about the local community and they’ve been really good to Barb.”
Miller Landscape and Gardens co-owner Steve Miller supports working with HCBDD on job placement at his family’s business: “I like the (HCBDD) program and I value the opportunity to give people served through that program the chance to work. We all need a reason to get up in the morning. If we love what we do, it gives us even more motivation. Barb sure seems to love what she’s doing here — she smiles all the time.”
Rey worked closely with Seevers’ service and support administrator (SSA) at HCBDD, Connie Bower, who told him about Seevers’ longstanding love for growing things so he could begin the job search. “Barb grows all kinds of plants at her house,” Bower said. “She’s done that ever since she got involved with our services, so we knew this job would be great for her.”
Rey added: “This is far more than just a job for Barb. Making money is important, obviously, but this is a career with deeper meaning for her. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as that; it’s a pleasure for everyone involved and an honor to be a part of it.”