Disability Awareness Day at the Capitol!

As you’ve probably seen on our social media, a group of us from GCRC attended the George Council on Developmental Disabilities‘ 17th Annual Disability Awareness Day at our state capitol last Thursday. It was rainy and cold, but we braved the weather and got to visit with some really amazing people.

Here’s a short video of our time at the capitol. Enjoy! And we hope to see you (and the sunshine!) there in 2016.

17th Annual Disability Awareness Day



New Series: Weekly Wrap Up


Happy Friday! It’s basically a frozen tundra here in Calhoun, and most everywhere else in Georgia, so grab yourself a cup of coffee and get comfortable for the first post in our new series: “Weekly Wrap Up”. Periodically, we’re going to be sharing our favorite posts, articles, videos, and stories from around the web. We want to focus on the positive things that people are doing to impact their communities – whether that’s supported employment, equality for those with disabilities, giving, or speaking out for the voiceless in our society – and leave you ready for the weekend with a smile on your face. Now if only we could make spring come early…

The Duchess of Cambridge Has an Empowering Message for Children Facing Mental Health Stigma…And For The Rest of Us

Who doesn’t love Kate? She’s classy and beautiful and, most importantly, she speaks up about issues that matter. Diana would be proud.


Lawmakers Look to Rein in Alternative Diplomas

We’re glad to see that members of Congress are considering the educational needs of students with disabilities on a case-by-case basis and also reviewing the impact alternative testing could have on their futures.


Autistic High School Student Mikey Brannigan Receives Sports Illustrated Coveted High School Athlete of the Month Award

“You can do anything you want. You have it inside you.”


Inspiring TED Talk from Barbara Arrowsmith on Childhood Learning Disabilities and the Neuroplasticity of the Brain

“Our brain shapes us. It makes us uniquely who we are.”


Like our list this week? Share it with your friends using #GCRCWeeklyWrapUp! And be sure to connect with us on Twitter and Instagram @GCRCOfficial.

Meet GCRC: Melissa Bagnoche, Quality Compliance Director

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It’s Friday again and you know what that means…another installment of our “Meet GCRC” series! Today, we’re proud to introduce you to a woman of many talents, our lovely Quality Compliance Director, Melissa Bagnoche. Melissa is involved in a number of projects and teams both here at GCRC and in a variety of community service organizations. She gives so much of herself and we are grateful for her hard work!

Hello! My name is Melissa Bagnoche and I have worked at George Chambers Resource Center since January 25th, 2011. My background is actually healthcare and I worked as a Radiologic Technologist for 10 years prior to starting my career with George Chambers Resource Center. I left Radiology because of the long commute I was making to Atlanta each work day. I decided to apply for a part-time position as a Receptionist at George Chambers Resource Center while my daughter was in school. I then became full-time as the Administrative Assistant. I am now the Quality Compliance Director. I am the Chair-Person for the Quality Improvement General Committee and also the UM/Peer Review Sub-Committee. I am the Vice-Chair for the Training Sub-Committee and the Policy & Procedures Sub-Committee. I also serve on our Board of Directors. I am a member of the Kiwanis Club of Calhoun and serve with Wendi, our Social Media & Public Relations Specialist, as a representative from George Chambers Resource Center at the Kiwanis Meetings. I honestly feel I have not only found a career that certainly has changed my life, but also a second family in the staff and the wonderful individuals we have the pleasure of serving each day. The individuals we serve literally teach me something new about life each day and inspire me to be a better person.


Outside of work, I live in Adairsville with my husband of 25 years, Shawn. We have one beautiful 10-year old daughter named Madilyne and she is the light of both of our lives. My husband transferred with his company thirteen years ago from Terre Haute, Indiana to Cartersville, Georgia. We bought our home in Adairsville three months after the move.   have an amazing family in Indiana and Arizona that I miss dearly, but we have no plans on moving anywhere else. We are home!

If you want to connect with Melissa, you can send her an email here or follow her on Twitter.

Meet GCRC: Joan Miles, Financial Officer

IMG_6974Happy Friday! And thanks for reading along with us on this series as we showcase the people at GCRC who keep our organization running smoothly. Today, we are proud to introduce you to Joan Miles, our Financial Officer. Joan is funny, smart, and kind, and her engaging personality makes her a joy to work with each day. She is primarily responsible for keeping GCRC, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, fiscally compliant, transparent, and efficient. She is vital to this organization and we are so grateful for her!

Read more about Joan below:

Hi I am Joan Miles.  I have been with George Chambers for almost 12 years.  I started as the Transportation Coordinator and, a year later, I accepted the position of Business Manager. I now hold the position of Financial Officer. I love my job!  I get so much joy from sharing time with the people in our services. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my children: Tayler, (yes, “Tayler” with an “e”), Kathryn, Zach, and Jackson.  Jackson, my youngest, will graduate from Sonoraville High School this year, leaving only my other babies – Corbin and Dewey, my two father and son Yorkies, as well as Hershel, a Havana Brown cat I rescued from the Gordon County Animal Shelter – to keep me company. In my free time, I also enjoy working out, swimming in the summer, and sitting by the fire on cold nights.
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The other babies
If you want to connect with Joan, you can send her an email here.

Calhoun High School Business Expo


A few of our staff members worked the annual Business Expo at Calhoun High School yesterday, including myself, our CEO, Mary Barclay, and Glenda Collins, Assistant to the CEO. It’s an important event because it not only allows us to get connected with members of the community, it also gives us the opportunity to share what we do with other employers. Since supported employment has been a big issue for us for many months now, it was only fitting that we do our part to let others in on the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.



We spent most of Tuesday preparing for the event and  gathering all the materials for our table. It was so much fun to get creative and think about how we could put our best foot forward. We set up goodie bags with postcards, supported employment brochures, pens, and mini notebooks, and laid out each of these items separately on the table. We also had a beautiful faux chalkboard display with a quick glimpse of what our organization is all about. Mary had the great idea to add water bottles at the last minute with stickers bearing our name and logo: “Building Bridges”. These were a great hit! Everyone gets thirsty at these things. Lots of walking! Finally, we set up a computer with “For Your Consideration” playing on a loop with copies of the DVD set out on the table in front in case anyone got curious. And they did! What a wonderful tool that DVD was to help us showcase the work our state has been doing to help individuals with disabilities gain independent lives.

We met some kind, generous people and enjoyed networking with business owners from across our city. And we can’t wait to do it again next year! Thanks to everyone who showed up and helped out.


Let Your Light S.H.I.N.E.

Flyer Gordon County

This weekend, Saturday, August 23, we will be hosting our very first S.H.I.N.E. event at the historic GEM Theatre here in Calhoun. S.H.I.N.E. stands for “Smoking Hot Initiatives in New Employment” and, really, it’s all about getting local business owners together to talk about the potential we have, as a community, to change people’s lives.

The individuals we serve have developmental disabilities. Some are high-functioning and others need more constant care. But they share one thing in common: they have dreams, hopes, and goals like every other person on this planet. So it should come as no surprise that many of these individuals are working to make their dreams become reality.

Take Douglas, for example. He used to work in the garden with his mother, and those experiences cultivated a love for the earth, and for being outside, in his heart. Douglas was a catalyst for building our own garden and greenhouse here at the center. And, thanks to some very generous community and business members who gave both their time and their money to see it happen, he is able to care for it and sell the vegetables at local markets. He is making connections with the community, building bridges, as we like to say, and the ripple effect from his small success has the potential to grow much, much wider.

So here’s an important question to consider: Why do we work? For an income, that’s obvious. But, mostly, we pursue what we think will give us purpose. What we think will offer us a future. What we think we will enjoy. We take our skills, our passions, and our goals and we put them down on a resume, hoping an employer will take notice and choose us for the job. Douglas, and the many other individuals we serve, are no different.

Well, now is your time to take notice.

We hope you’ll join us at the S.H.I.N.E. event this weekend and learn more about how you can play a role in this exciting, and crucial, time for our community! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @GCRCOfficial, and Like us on Facebook to keep up with all the news about this event and others. And, as always, you can send us an email if you have any questions or would like to RSVP for S.H.I.N.E.

See you Saturday!