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Our Town Guymon: Panhandle Area Sheltered Workshop

Panhandle Area Sheltered Workshop is a nonprofit located in Guymon, Okla., that educates people 21 and older who have developmental disabilities.

Each day is a new challenge for PASW. Teaching and monitoring job skills is a big part of the learning process but there is more to the job than watching people who work. Clients shred papers at a local recycle center, some work at a thrift stores while others mow yards while on yard work assignment or help clean offices. Besides helping them with job skills, the staff work with the clients on every day challenges.

This October will mark 35 years of service for the shelter.

"We teach them vocational skills," said Shirlee Blasingame, job coach. "We supervise them and teach them hand over hand in order to learn how to do that job skill. They have hopes of learning how to do this on their own without a job coach."

"A lot of these guys its just how to cope," said Holly Mikles, program coordinator. "We work with them on anger management, social skills what is appropriate what is not appropriate relationship-type skills so that's a lot of the things that we do here."

The staff who works with the mentally challenged say no matter the disability, the clients want to be a part of things.

Weather it's a week or 30 years of service a special bond is formed one that provides cherished memories while the clients are working in and around town to help beautify Guymon.

"You get to where you have a big heart for them," said Carol Batterman, administrator. "No matter what they are wanting to do, you try to help them."

"Without them we wouldn't have jobs," said Blasingame. "Without us they wouldn't be able to work, so we work together really well hand in hand."

PASW receives state and federal funding along with donations from the comnmunity to help cover costs. The clients of the program who qualify through the state can stay as long as they choose.

PASW is counting the days to the Special Olympics May 12-15 in Stillwater, Okla.

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