The STRIDE (Sodexo Training and Employment for Individuals with Disabilities for Employment) program at Plymouth State University congratulated another class of graduates on December 19. The ceremony for intern graduates and their families was held at PSU’s Hartman Union Building.

The goal of the 15 week program, sponsored by Lakes Region Community Services and Sodexo at PSU,  is to create a pool of qualified individuals who will be trained and eligible to apply for positions in the food services industry within Sodexo and with other employers.

Rosemary Gelinas, the mother of STRIDE graduate Chrissy Gelinas, said the experience was invaluable for her daughter. “She made great friendships with interns and staff members,” said Gelinas, adding that the routine and expectations of the program helped her daughter to develop excellent work habits.

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Pictured (left to right) at this year’s STRIDE Graduation at PSU are: Samantha Ely (Belmont), Janice Nelson (Meredith), Chris Mongeon (Sodexo); Shaina Dickinson (New Hampton); Alden Hammond (Sanbornton); Chrissy Gelinas (Laconia), and LRCS staff member Shelley Shamberger.

“She was excited about the program. She was getting up on time and making sure she had everything she needed before leaving the house. She’s really grown and matured,” said Gelinas. “The program doesn’t limit them. It shows them possibilities and opens new doors.”

Lakes Region Community Services is a nonprofit, comprehensive family support agency with a primary focus of providing supports to individuals with developmental disabilities and/or acquired brain disorders and their families. A dynamic human services organization, LRCS offers other essential and critical services to individuals in the Lakes Region from birth through a lifespan. At the core of LRCS’ work are inclusion, acceptance, and building strengths and partnerships – whether at the individual, family or community level.