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V.I. Resource Center for Disabled Open for Business

Oct. 15, 2004 – "Exceeding expectations" is what it was about for individuals and for organizations as the V.I. Resource Center for the Disabled held on open house for a new training center in Christiansted Friday evening.
Shirley Joseph said when she became executive director of the Resource Center a year ago, she immediately asked herself, "Why are we not doing on St. Croix what we are doing on St. Thomas?"
What the Resource Center has been doing on St. Thomas is, at any given time, equipping 40 challenged adults and 40 challenged youths to make them employable.
The Resource Training Center in St. Croix, which will open its doors for students by the middle of November, won't have numbers that high immediately. Joseph said at the St. Croix center, located at 102 Estate Richmond, three classes would probably be offered – two for adults and one for youths. Each class will have about 10 students.
The classes will offer training in all the skills needed to get a job and also certain life skills.
Joseph said the goal with the students is to have them attain a skill level where an employer feels comfortable hiring them and keeping them.
Marla Matthew, president of the VIRCD board, welcomed about 50 people to the ceremony. She said this effort would be successful in matching resources to people's needs.
One reason the training center could become reality is Delegate Donna M. Christensen. She owns the building and is renting the three rooms the Center is using to VIRCD "as long as they need it."
Christensen attended the ceremony, as did one of her opponents in this election, Warren Mosler.
Angela East Weber, the staff accountant at Cruzan Rum and a member of the VIRCD business advisory council, was the mistress of ceremonies. "St. Croix just became a little stronger today," she said about the ribbon cutting.
Terrence T. Joseph, insular superintendent of St. Croix Department of Education, spoke. He said that the VIRCD would always have a friend in him. He said he often recalls the couple of weeks when he was paralyzed, at the same time he lost the sight in his right eye, due to a tumor.
Cecil Benjamin, commissioner of the Department of Labor, was scheduled to speak but did not appear.
The center now has five computers and is looking for a donation of five more. It also needs kitchen equipment. Anyone who can help is urged to call 719-2828.
The VIRCD has had a youth program at Ricardo Richards Elementary School for 10 years.

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