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!! 


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!


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! 


"Volunteering can help ease fears and connect people to new opportunities. Steve has always been interested in community employment. We started volunteering at Local Roots and in the kitchen at the Kroc 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 was ready to join a job placement program and recently completed the first wave of temporary employment. He is ready for his next employment placement and permanent employment down the road. 

We are thankful to local businesses for making these opportunities available and helping to strengthen the bond between community members."

W​ritten by Kendra Van Zile, PC in Ashland


Charley started working in January 2018 at Taz's game center in the Carnation Mall. He worked several hours during the week with a job coach, while still working the other hours during the day at X-Excel. In July 2018, Charley applied and was offered a job at Bob Evans!

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

It's awesome to see success happening for Charley personally and professionally.