Keke worked with OOD for several months and in April 2019 obtained a job at Return Polymers Inc (RPI) a recycling center in Ashland. She learned how to  run the converyor belt to sort items for recycling.

She says the biggest adjustments are the long hours and standing for most of the time, often causing her back to ache!

Keke continues to work part-time X-Excel on the days she is not at RPI. She is one dedicated woman!


John has tried many jobs in the janitorial field. He has always pushed to do everything on his own. In mid-April 2019, John found a janitorial job at a mental health hospital. He loves it and is so proud of himself! 

Go John!


Rachel has always been a kind person with a real dedication to her work. Independetly without the assistance of OOD, she applied and was offered a resident assistant job at The Inn at Belden Village. Rachel said, " I have always want to help people." Rachel will be able to help many people while working in the alzheimer and dementia care unit. 

Rachel will be starting part-time at the Inn and continue working at X-Excel while she gets use to this new experience. 

What an amazing story. Rachel is a true model for her friends and co-workers. She knew what she wanted and got it done!


Since day one at X-Excel, David has been the in house salesman. He loves to greet anyone who walks through the doors of the Jackson location and tell them about the chocolate made there.
David recently started working with OOD. In April 2019, he applied and was offered a job at Wendy's. He will be wiping off tables and helping to keep the place looking clean and spotless. 

Great Job David! We know you will do wonderful things!


Bruce recently went through a trial work placement with Julie, a job coach from OOD. He worked at Beuhler's stocking and straightening shelves for one week. Julie, worked alongside him during his week-long trial. 

Bruce said that he didn't want to lose his paycheck from X-Excel, so he worked from 9a-12p and then worked at Buehler's from 12.45- 4p. These were very long days and by the end, Bruce said he was "very tired." 

Brue said he liked stocking shelves becauce it helped him concentrate and focus. It was a great first step and allowed him the opportunity to try something new. 

When I asked him what the next steps were, Bruce said: "I want to get a job at Beuhler's. I need to go onliine to fill out a job application. My Grandma said she's gonna help me.

Bruce already has his future schedule planned out. Although he loved Beuhler's, he says he wants to remain part-time at X-Excel because "my girlfriend and my friends are here." Bruce said he "wants to get a community job because [he] needs to make more money."


Kahli was working with OOD before she started with X-Excel. She continued her work with them. In February 2019 Kahli got a job at Giant Eagle! 



We are so proud of Megan. She worked hard at perfecting her job interview skills and got a job at Little Ceasars. She was there for three months. Although it didn't work out this time, we know she will keep working on finding a job that she loves that fits her dreams!

Keep it up Megan!


Steve has been volunteering for many years at Local Roots and in the Kitchen at the Croc Center (a community center run by the Salvation Army to help those with the greatest need). Through these experiences, Steve's confidence grew and he became more comfortable. Steve began working with OOD and was pffered a dish washing job at Perkins! Steve said "I wash the dishes, put the clean dishes away, I sweep my area, and use the squeegee to clean the counter. I also take out the trash." 

Steve worked with OOD and has a job coach. She initially worked right next to him, but now he is doing everything independently. She does remain on site if he need anything. 

Steve had job offered from three restaurants. When asked why he chose Perkins, he replied, "Perkins was my favorite. Not only did I like Perkins, I worked there before. They make you feel welcome." 

Steve has learned not only parts of his specific job, but he has learned how to clock in and out when he arrives, goes on break, and leaves for the day. 

Steve said if he could give advice to anyone it would be "if you get a job, keep it and don't quit. Listen to you boss and do your job as best you can." 

Congratulations Steve!


From Brad's SSA: "I love these 1 page updates- Thank you"


Jovan started working with X-Excel in 2016. When he started he kept to himself, slept in the recliner for most of the day, and seemed very disengaged. It took a lot to motivate him to work and participate in activities.

Within the next 2 years, Jovan became more and more successful. Not only was he participating in more, but he was talking and interacting with the people around him. 

In June 2018 Jovan did a trial run at Jackson. Jackson focuses on vocational work. They are constantly working, touring, and learning skills that can encourage independence and prepare them to be successful in a community-based job. Jovan did wonderfully!!

While at Jackson, Jovan loves learning about and riding SARTA, the public bus. They have already taken the bus to get lunch and explore local stores. He is started learning basic computer skills, has volunteered at Stark Fresh and a food pantry, and has learned how to make delicious chocolate.

So what's the biggest difference from 2016 to 2018? Jovan is self-motivated. He now wants to be involved and active.    


Mike started working with X-Excel in October 2013. When Mike first began working with us he and his family expressed frustration on how they felt Mike was not being given opportunities to live up to his potential. He loved staying busy and working with tools but was frustrated with being given jobs he didn't enjoy.

Being a handyman ran in Mike's family and was something that was very important to him and gave him a great sense of pride. A goal was set for Mike to grow his knowledge of tools and have a job he enjoyed doing. Over the years Mike has taken trainings in everything from a sander to a jigsaw. He uses these tools on a daily basis and is known as "the handyman" at the Ashland X-Excel.

His family has shared how for the first time in his life, Mike truly enjoys his job and wants to come to work every day. Mike is a wonderful example of how being encouraged to try what you can do, instead of being told what you can't do, can make all the difference. Great job, Mike!


Renee started working at our Jackson location when it opened in May 2017. One of the goals was to teach people how to use SARTA, the public transportation system in Stark County. Learning how to use public transportation can greatly increase independence. No longer do you need to wait on someone else if you want to go somewhere! Initially, when Renee started she was very hesitant to ride the bus with the group of people. 

As of June 2018, Renee now takes SARTA by herself in the morning and afternoon, to and from X-Excel! This is AMAZING!! 

As of April 2019, Renee started working in the kitchen at Norcia's bakery! You go girl!


Jake is a type of person who accomplishes whatever he puts him mind to. Recently he has done some pretty incredible things. Jake practies and teaches Tae Kwon Do at McFeeder's Tae Kwon Do Studios in Alliance. In March 2018, Jake earned his Black Belt!

At X-Excel, Jake does amazing things. He is extremely artistic and will often come up with outstanding ideas. Recently he created a training using Powerpoint, to train his co-workers on how to safely operate and clean the new miter saw. Jake learned how to use Prezi and created visual demonstrations to teach safety procedures for all the other power tools. He will be training everyone who uses a power tool at X-Excel on all the tools!

As of April 2019, Jake got his driver's license, became a pizza delivery man, and will be a father soon!


Robert got a job at Papa Bears in 2016 with the help of a job coach. He washed dishes and cleaned the pizza pans. He also cleaned tables and took out the trash. Robert was doing really well. 

In June 2018 Robert came to talk to our Director. He told her that he was bored. He didn't feel motivated anymore and wasn't excited about working at Papa Bears.

With some help communicating this to his supervisor, Robert began learning how to make pasta! Although this is still a new development, now he is happy again. He loves telling people what he does and always is promoting Papa Bears to anyone who will listen. 

Robert shows that we all need to be challenged in life. We all need to experience and try new things to make life interesting! 


Charley has been continually pursuing his dream on community employment. He worked at Taz's game center in the Alliance Carnation mall, then began working at Bob Evans later in the year. Charley was there for many months. Although it didn't work out, we are so proud of his accomplishments and drive! Keep it up Charley!

While advancing his career, Charlie has also accomplished another goal of his, moving into his own apartment. This has been something he has talked about doing for a very long time.