Spotlight on QC Learning

Welcome to QC Enews Empowerment

Happy New Year from Quality Connections!

A new year seems like the perfect time to introduce the team that has assumed leadership of our QC Learning program. Both have been with Quality Connections in other roles, but have recently stepped up to coordinate the wide range of activities that make up our innovative day program for adults.

QC Learning is an important stepping stone for many of our members to develop skills that will help them in finding (and keeping) employment and in living their lives to the fullest. 

We hope you enjoy learning about Tim Harrison and Noah Plack and their work that empowers individuals with disabilities. 

– Armando Bernasconi,
Co-Founder and CEO

Program Spotlight: QC Learning

QC Learning Director Tim Harrison and members in the Safeway Training Center

From 8:30 to 3:30 every weekday, a group of 25 to 35 Quality Connections members come together to learn the skills that will help them become more independent and live a full life.

The classes and subjects can range from money management to running an online radio station, but they all have a common theme running through them, said QC Learning Director Tim Harrison.

“It’s teaching people skills to be able to actively participate in the community, in a job setting, and in life,” he said.
Tim is a self-described “military brat” who grew up in several communities between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River.

After working in social services, he earned a Master’s degree in
Counseling to transition into a field that would allow for a holistic
approach to helping people. He joined Quality Connections in 2021,
originally as an Employment Specialist prior to being named QC Learning Director this past fall.

Helping him lead this program is Noah Plack. Originally from California, Noah came to Flagstaff three years ago to help a sick relative and fell in love with the area. Looking for a position as a caretaker or teacher, he discovered Quality Connections and started as an Instructor at QC Learning and was recently promoted to Manager of the program. 

“It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had,” he said.

Each day starts with a morning meeting with members. It’s a chance to talk about what they learned the previous day and warm up their communication skills with the “word of the day” and a spelling or literacy game.

Classes cover a variety of topics, including math, life sciences, agriculture, nutrition, communication, and healthy relationships. Many of the classes are geared towards building employment skills, such as preparing for an interview, while others help them be more independent at home. Music and drama classes round out the offerings.

All those skills are put to practical use in various activities during the day, such as working on the radio station, the monthly newsletter or the quarterly newspaper. Members also run a cafe where they plan out the menus, budget for food, shop, cook, and then sell the dishes they make to Quality Connections members, staff, friends, and family. There’s even a fully operational Safeway check-out aisle, where members learn how to bag groceries and stock shelves.

Some of the activities are driven by the interests of the students or the expertise of the five instructors in the program. For example, the impetus for the radio station was a visit by members to a local radio station to record public service announcements. Meanwhile, the gardening classes came about because of one of the instructor’s passion for agriculture.

A thread that runs through all of the programs and activities is the importance of communication and developing social skills, Tim said.

Communication is built into everything,” he said. “Verbal communication and visual communication. We’ll watch a movie and analyze it for social cues and the difference between personal and business relationships. It’s teaching people skills to be able to actively participate in the community, in a job setting and in life.

Thank You for Your Support in 2023

All of us at Quality Connections would like to give a big THANK YOU for your generosity during our three-day, end-of-year campaign.

All donations given between December 29 and New Year’s Eve were matched dollar-for-dollar by Quality Connections supporter Kevin Mitchell.

By the end of the three days, Kevin matched $5,464.88 in donations, including $1,392.75 from first-time donors to Quality Connections. 

It was an awesome way to close out 2023, and we are very grateful for your generosity.

We need Quality Connections . . . like you!

You can help individuals with disabilities become independent and productive members of our community. There are many way to be a ‘Quality Connection’ and get involved and all of them are important:

Every purchase from QC Office equals employment and job training opportunities for a person with disabilities.

Enable a person with disabilities to become a productive member of our community.

You’ll be doing good. Plus, you’ll get a dollar-for-dollar credit on your AZ state taxes (up to $800!)

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