The Arc of St. Mary Center for Hope helps adults with intellectual and developmental disabilites
transition from high school into the work force, giving them opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise.
“A lot of them would be at home, sitting on the couch or in their bedroom watching TV because there’s not a whole lot of opportunities for people with significant intellectual disabilities
once they get out of the school system,” Executive Director Kristal Hebert said.
The Center for Hope has participants from 18 to 67 years old.
They provide employment training to their participants and help them to find minimum-wage jobs either in the janitorial service industry or at the center’s own thrift store: Hope Floats Boutique in downtown Franklin.
“It gives everybody the opportunity to work out in the community, and they all earn minimum wage. They’re very proud of that,” Hebert said.
When they aren’t working, participants hang out at the Center for Hope and mostly fill their time with games and their favorite activity… dancing.
“They encourage each other. It could be something as simple as writing their name clearly and once they do that, it’s cheers all along. Everybody that earns their first paycheck here, it’s a big party,” she added.
Hebert says the Center for Hope is funded by Medicaid, but they mostly run off donations.
That money is used to operate the center, run the thrift store and take participants to and from their jobs in the community.
“A lot of people think that we automatically have money because of what we do, but it’s not that way. We have to be here working to receive money,” Hebert told News Ten.
You can drop off or mail in any monetary donations to the center. Their address is 100 Missouri St. in Centerville, LA, 70522.
If you’d like to donate clothes to the center’s thrift store, you can bring them to Hope Floats Boutique in Franklin.