Kathy Flamand likes to keep busy, and she does.
As a 30-year participant in Alternatives’ programs, Kathy looks forward every day to going to the agency’s pleasant new space in the Whitin Mill. There she visits with friends and helps with events at the Mill. She also volunteers at Northbridge Senior Center, Faith Fellowship Food Pantry in Uxbridge and Meadow Brook Sanctuary in Worcester. Mostly, however, she likes to work and has held many jobs over the years. Most recently, she did packaging at Table Talk Pies in Worcester and labeling at Sundance Publishing in Northborough.
Joe and Lorraine Flamand, Kathy’s parents, say that despite her severe disabilities, she is bright and strong-willed and insists on being self-sufficient. Kathy, who was born with cerebral palsy, has been supported by Alternatives since she was 17 and says both she and the program have grown in many ways.
“I am proud to say that I am much more independent and have my ‘own’ life. I owe much of this to Alternatives, and I consider the people I work with at the agency my second family.”
Meanwhile, the agency has developed for the better as well. When Kathy started at Alternatives, she worked in a large sheltered workshop serving more than 200 people. The older space was spartan and difficult for her to get around in with her wheelchair. What’s more, those in the workshop had little interaction with the outside community. It’s no surprise then that she was delighted at the prospect of the renovated quarters.
“I was very excited when I was told there would be new space to work in and that the local community would be invited to come to our Mill events” Kathy recalls.
Kathy is proud to have had the honor of giving a speech and helping to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the renovated Whitin Mill. She attends almost every event that Alternatives hosts in the Mill’s Community Plaza. One of those recent events was Alternatives’ Farmers Markets at which Kathy enjoyed helping her parents sell their handmade bowls.
Kathy invites everyone to learn more about Alternatives and its contributions to the local communities.
“Thank you for reading my story… maybe I will see you at an event on our community plaza.”