Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Top 5 Disability & Senior Blog Posts

2012 was a great first year for the Pressing Forward with Progress blog.

supported employment, Comcast, jobs, disability, Progress Inc.

We've had more than 2,600 views of our various blog posts!
We posted about our clients, events & awards more than 30 times! And now we're sharing the top 5 most read blog posts of 2012:

art, recycled, Progress Inc.

SMART Holds First Donation Day

Vanderbilt, art, artist, Kennedy Center

Jerry Adams artwork on display at Vanderbilt's Kennedy Center

Nashville, news, seniors, scams

Spotlight on Seniors: Scams Against the Elderly

We thank you & we welcome feedback. Please let our Progress blogger Stephanie Toone know what you'd like to hear more about in the New Year.

This year, we have the return of two amazing events Festival on the Fairway and the E.N.D. East Nash Dash. We also have the launch of SMART - Scrap Made Art to look forward to.

Here's to many more Stories of Progress in 2013.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Trash 101: Regift, Recycle & Reclaim

Now, that the holidays are coming to end. You're probably looking for ways to get rid of gifts, holiday cards, wrapping paper and everything else under the sun. Progress has just the solution. Donate your holiday items, materials around the house filling up space or an array of other items to  SMART!  Scrap Made Art. Our repurposed arts & supplies store, which will officially launch in the New Year, is accepting donations now.
reuse, holiday, cards, trash, recycle
Reclaimed holiday cards.

reuse, holiday, cards, trash, recycle
Reclaimed holiday bows.

The reclaimed items, from wire hangers to greeting cards, will be sold in bulk at affordable prices to artists, teachers & craftspeople looking to reduce Nashville's waste and make art from scraps. We already have a large inventory of fabric, buttons, yarn, metal scraps and much much more. We can schedule appointments for drop off, so before or after the New Year, we're here to help!
We'll have a store opening soon, but we are already storing our inventory, so if interested in donating items or learning more, please contact Kelli Monday at

Here's an idea of items you could donate to SMART! today:
• Recycle wrapping paper, card stock type gift tags, cards and envelopes along with all the holiday catalogues and promotional mail.
• Boxes, ribbons, bows and other gift decorations
• Save used Christmas cards that can be used as gift tags for next year

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Arts & Crafts Program @ Progress Volunteer Now!

arts, holiday, DIDD, disabilities, intellectual disabilities

Want to give back in a personal & rewarding way this holiday season?

arts, seniors, volunteerism, volunteer, help, donate
arts, crafts, volunteer
Volunteer your time to make beautiful pieces of art alongside our Progress clients at Progress . The newly launched arts & crafts program at our Day Center gives our adults with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to express themselves freely and enhance their days. 

The weekly one-hour Arts & Crafts session is a blast for our folks. The crafts class take place every Friday from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

If you'd like to get involved by helping assist our folks with painting, pasting & crafting, please contact Stephanie Toone at

Monday, December 10, 2012

#ChirpforCharity & Progress can win up to $2,000. GO TWEET NOW!

We’re excited to participate in The Community Foundation’s 2012 Holiday Tweet-a-Thon, and we need your support to help us win up to $2,000 between today and Dec. 21!

With one tweet naming @ProgressNash (Progress' Twitter Handle), we’ll be entered to win dollars to support our work!

 But the more tweets sent to The Community Foundation (@CFMT), the more chances we have to win. 

Here’s how it works:

1) Follow CFMT on Twitter at The campaign runs December 7–21, 2012. HURRY, don’t miss your chance to help us win with a simple tweet!
2) Tweet this sentence:
#ChirpforCharity Help @ProgressNash get up to $2,000 from @CFMT by RT this! Info:

Tweets eligible for selection must be directed to @CFMT. Please include the tag #ChirpforCharity.

3) Each time our name is submitted by a unique Twitter user, we’ll be entered into the drawing, so ASK YOUR FRIENDS & FOLLOWERS TO retweet!

Please share this post & RT the sentence we've shared above. 
More details about the contest & the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee below:


Prizes & Drawing Dates:
Each nonprofit winner will be pulled from a random drawing.
Drawing 1 – Wednesday, Dec. 12 – $500 grant to nonprofit
Drawing 2 – Tuesday, Dec. 18 – $500 grant to nonprofit
Drawing 3 – Friday, Dec. 21 – $1,500 GRAND PRIZE grant to nonprofit
Don't delay - All nonprofits nominated during the two-week campaign period are eligible to win the GRAND PRIZE drawing on Dec. 21, AND cumulative votes throughout the two-week period will be counted! That means, we need tweets throughout the campaign, Dec. 7-21.
Learn more at

Friday, November 30, 2012

Progress Wins 2012 Community Day Project Award

Wins 2012 HCA Community Day Project Award

The HCA Foundation recently awarded Progress Inc. with the 2012 HCA Community Day Project Award, which includes a $2,000 grant and the designation by HCA as one of the top 5 Community Caring Day projects of 2012. 
HCA held its annual Caring for the Community campaign on Sept. 18 and Sept. 19, which gave HCA employees the opportunity to work directly with Nashville non-profits that are making a difference in the community. Deanna Campbell, HCA spokeswoman, said 52 Community Day agencies  were nominated by HCA project coordinators based on creativity, relation to agency mission and the volunteers experience at the work site.

As a part of Progress’ Community Day project, 15 HCA employees painted pumpkins with Progress Inc. clients, moved furniture and gardened at Progress’ Ezell Pike campus. The Community Day project was originally intended to be a full day of gardening. Rainy weather led Progress Director of Development Director Anita Spatz to find other useful and interactive tasks for the HCA volunteers to tackle.

“The selection committee thought the agency project was very creative and liked how it allowed HCA employees precious time interacting with clients at the agency,” Campbell said. “Additionally, they felt the agency did a great job adjusting due to the weather. One volunteer had this to say following the project: “I think we made a difference for Progress, but more importantly in the lives of those we touched today. I think we also benefitted today from the opportunity to meet the people who Progress serves.”

Monday, November 12, 2012

Progress' Inaugural East Nash Dash a HIT in East Nashville

The E.N.D. East Nash Dash at Five Points Presented By First Tennessee drew in 200 runners, walkers and spectators from across Middle Tennessee and Kentucky and helped raise awareness about  Progress Inc.'s mission and clients. The first-time event, which took place Saturday, Nov. 3, centered in the heart of East Nashville’s Five Points, featured a challenging, 4-mile course through East Nashville, awards, prizes and food and drinks from Five Points Pizza, Drifters BBQ, Fat Bottom Brewing, Jackalope Brewing, Lotus Energy Drink and Real Water.

District 6 Metro Councilman Peter Westerholm welcomed participants to the inaugural run-raiser  Nashville Running Company served as the East Nash Dash headquarters. Streetlight Allstar deejays provided music at the event.

One race participant said: "I had a great time. Loved the course. Overall, a great time."

Another said: "Great preparation and course safety...It was a fun course. Happy to be a part of the first one. " 

We're so happy to have introduced such a great event to East Nashville. Stay Tuned to find out details about 2013's East Nash Dash.

Friday, October 26, 2012

2012 Mayor's Awards Honors Progress for Care to Seniors & Adults with Disabilities

The Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities and Vanderbilt Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities awarded Progress Inc. with four of the 12 awards presented at the 31st Annual Mayor’s Awards, which took place Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 at the Nashville Farmers’ Market.

 Mayor Karl Dean and advisory committee members honored Progress with the 2012 Agency Award for the organization’s ability to find “creative and innovative” ways in providing care to adults with disabilities and seniors. Progress employee Pam Reed received the 2012 Direct Support Professional Award for making significant strides with in the lives of the individuals she serves. Progress office manager Lanitta Joseph was named the Agent of Change for her ability to touch the lives of each person that steps foot in Progress’ offices. Robert Page, Progress client and 2012 Employment Idol winner, was awarded the Jo Andrews Award for his efforts to improve the lives of children at Harris Hillman Special Education School.

The 2012 Mayor’s Awards ceremony also honored and featured the work of local artists with disabilities from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities’ Creative Expressions XVII exhibit. The 2012 Mayor’s Awards, hosted by Emmy award-winner Janet Ivey, recognized employers, volunteers, advocates and artists that have made significant strides and efforts to improve the disability community.  Please view photos from the awards ceremony at .

Monday, October 15, 2012

Progress wins FOUR awards from Mayor's Committee on People With Disabilities

Robert Page with DIDD Commissioner Jim Henry
Progress Inc. Executive Director Donna Goodaker, Mitch and Allison at a Progress party.

We're so excited to announce that Progress has been honored in a huge way this year by the Mayor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities. We were named top agency by the advisory committee and our staff and clients also received honors. The awards' ceremony will take place Oct. 25 at the Nashville Farmer's Market. Thanks so much to the committee for considering our folks and our agency noteworthy.

Here's a rundown of Progress' 2012 Mayor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities Awards:

  • PROGRESS INC. - AGENCY/ORGANIZATION - Recognizes an entity that meets the needs of persons with disabilities in the community in creative, innovative ways; that advocates for persons with disabilities and their families individually and systemically; and work cooperatively with other agencies/ organizations for the advancement of the field.
  • PAM REED - DSP or DEDICATED SPECIAL PERSON – Recognizes a paid Direct Support Professional who believes and demonstrates by their actions that their first allegiance is to the person or persons they support, that all other actions flow from this allegiance, and that dedicate their efforts to improving the lives of people with disabilities, both on and off the job.
  • LANITTA JOSEPH - AGENT FOR CHANGE - Recognizes a person who strongly advocates for and demonstrates keen sensitivity to issues related to disabilities, and whose efforts impact positively and significantly upon the service system and/or community.
  • ROBERT PAGE - JO ANDREWS AWARD - Recognizes a person with a disability who makes an important contribution to the disability community by his/her example or effort.    

Monday, September 24, 2012

Progress' SMART! Holds First Donation Day -Oct. 2.

Progress Inc. will soon open an innovative social enterprise called SMART! - Scrape Made Art. On Oct. 2, you can help this new green business by coming by Progress and donating useful, recyclable items.


SMART! will be an art reuse center where artists, school teachers, craftsmen, seamstress and anyone in between can purchase unique, recycled items for any arts and crafts project. Customers will be able to purchase these recyclable items - from Popsicle sticks to plastic water bottle tops - in bulk for their projects at affordable prices. Along with providing a cool new art store for Nashville, SMART! will benefit Progress Inc.'s mission of giving adults with intellectual disabilities meaningful employment opportunities. The clients we support will eventually work at SMART! with the assistance of management staff.

Here are some neat examples of art created from recyclable items found across the web: 

Mini Magnet Craft Courtesy of

Balls of string created with newspapers Courtesy of

How can you help get SMART! going?

SMART! Project Manager Kelli Monday has devised a list of items that will be needed for SMART!'s inventory. 

We welcome anyone and everyone to bring the items (listed below) in bags or boxes to Progress' office, 319 Ezell Pike on Tuesday, Oct. 2. It will be the first of many donation days, where Kelli collects a variety of items that will be used for future works of art. If you have questions or want to know more about SMART!, please contact Kelli Monday

Friday, September 21, 2012


We cannot thank David Cannady and his crew of HCA employees enough for all their help during the HCA Caring Community Day 2012.  The annual event has helped Progress in so many ways. This year, the employees moved furniture, filed documents, helped assemble emergency kits that will be used at the homes of our clients, gardened and spent time decorating pumpkins with our day program clients. Please view our slideshow dedicated to the day of volunteering.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Progress Inc. 4-miler Coming to East Nashville Nov. 3

Progress Inc. is gearing up for the inaugural E.N.D. East Nash Dash - a 4-miler and bash that will benefit the programs that support seniors and adults with disabilities. There will be free food, drinks and music from East Nashville's favorites.

Please learn more and register for the 4-miler at and take a peek at the video from our PSA shot in the heart of Five Points last week.

Friday, July 27, 2012

DIDD Commissioner Jim Henry visits Progress Inc.

2012 Employment Idol Winner and Progress client Robert Page and DIDD Commissioner Jim Henry.

Henry and Progress Inc. Executive Director Donna Goodaker after his visit at Progress.
DIDD Commissioner Jim Henry made a visit to Progress Inc. this week.
Each of our directors in accounting, quality assurance, day programs and residential programs were able to share some insight with the commissioner about what is working and what has become challenges for our agency.

Commissioner Henry had glowing remarks about Progress' quality programming over the last several years. Since more than 20 percent of our clients are employed, we stand out as one of the top agencies in the state, he said. The commissioner introduced an initiative this year encouraging provider agencies in Tennessee to employ at least 20 percent of their clients.

We appreciate the commissioner taking the time to speak to us, tour the campus and share some updates about the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Progress' Robert Page to be featured in The Tennessean

Robert being interviewed by Tennessean reporter Dawn Wyatt as his dad Les listens.

Robert Page's Employment Idol success has led right into the summer. He will be featured in The Tennessean's Davidson A.M. on July 4th! Please pick up a copy of Wednesday's paper and check the story out online.

His endearing story of being a dedicated, hardworking teacher's aide at Harris-Hillman for 15 years garnered the attention of reporter Dawn Wyatt. His Employment Idol video, which now has nearly 400 views on YouTube, was a fan favorite, but it also inspired some of the other contestants in the Tennessee Disability MegaConference video contest.

One of the competing videographers Walter Dodd from the Hilltoppers agency in Crossville shared this message on YouTube: "Congrats, guys. Robert won first place. We all were there and Brian (another contestant) and our group voted for Robert as well. He really Deserves it please tell him CONGRATS from everyone at our agency."

We appreciate the support from other agencies and the coverage by The Tennessean.

 Sharing the Progress' Story

Robert could not have become Tennessee's Employment Idol without social media outlets like Facebook and Youtube. Many Progress supporters shared links to the videos, Facebook posts and told their friends about the competition.

Just as that support helped Robert, it would help Progress if all our readers, Facebook fans and others shared the stories posted here at Pressing Forward With Progress and on our Facebook Page. According to a recent research provided by Facebook, 92 percent of people on social media sites shared and read stories that their online friends talked about or shared online.

Invite your friends to like and read our blog posts and like our Facebook page. There are so many great stories, photos and videos that give a glimpse into Progress' story.

Thanks for all the support!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vote for Robert Page in the TN Employment Idol Video Contest

YouTube Video on What Makes Robert Page a TN Employment Idol.

Robert Page doesn't sing or play the guitar, but he is hoping to win your vote as an "idol" - Tennessee's Employment Idol that is.

The Tennessee Disability MegaConference called for video submissions earlier this month that highlight the employment success of an individual with intellectual disabilities. Online voting began Tuesday, and it ends today. During Thursday morning's MegaConference, a studio audience will also vote on the seven Employment Idol videos.

How to Vote for Robert's Video:

  1. Sign into your Gmail, YouTube or Google+ account
  2. Open this link in another tab.
  3. Watch the video on Robert
  4. Click the like button on the video
Robert has been a dedicated employee at Harris-Hillman for 15 years. He began as a volunteer at the school, but soon became a paid employee. When budget cuts threaten his employment, the school principal and Metro School Board fought to keep his position paid.

He loves earning his own money, but, most of all, he loves interacting with the students. He shows the students at Harris-Hillman, who also have disabilities, that there can be a full and prosperous life as an adult with disabilities.

He lives out the Progress mission of "moving forward with abilities."

Please take a few moments to view his video story and vote for Robert!

Check back here to see if Robert nabs the title.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Progress & Rochelle event will feature golf, food and FUN challenges

Daron Hall, Congressman Jim Cooper and dozens of business including Pinnacle Bank, Walgreens, Bass Tires, Zaxby's, Shoney's, Del Mar Medical and others will come out Thursday for a daylong golf tournament at the Pine Creek Golf Course.
The event is an inaugural collaboration between Progress Inc. and Rochelle Center, two Nashville non-profits that have been committed to providing day programs, employment and other support to adults with intellectual disabilities for more than 40 years.
Golfers from across the area will take on challenging contests and games at many holes, so, in part, they have a glimpse of the daily challenges some of the folks we serve face. Proceeds from the event will help subsidize programs that enrich and enhance the lives of adults with disabilities.
A recent Progress Activities Day with staff and clients gave our folks a chance to play everything from volleyball to Frisbee.

Along with the interesting challenges, including rating the golfer with the "worst" drive and the golfers who drive their balls closest to Pine Creek Golf Course's beautiful creek. The scramble across the 18-hole golf course will benefit two great organizations, but we also hope the golfers will indeed have a "A party at every hole..." Golfers will have goodies from Jonbalaya Food Truck, Corky's, Shoney's, Sonic's, Zaxby's and many others.

Check back here for photos from tomorrow's event!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Progress Senior Care @ Southern Women's Show and Bethlehem Centers

Progress Inc. program manager Alisha takes information from a Southern Women's Show-Nashville eventgoer.
Progress Senior Care staff has been busy the last couple of weeks sharing information about how our trained, caring caregivers can ensure that seniors "age with grace, while staying in place." Our Senior Care Services division has tripled in growth over the last year, and we now serve nearly 80 seniors across Davidson, Rutherford, Cheatham and Williamson counties. We took time over the past week to meet and inform the families and individuals that could use our services.

Southern Women's Show Nashville

Seniors and their family members flocked to the Progress booth at the Southern Women's Show recently. More than 300 showgoers stopped by the Progress booth over the four-day weekend to get information about our various forms of Senior Care Services, including respite, homemaker, and personal care. In addition to the information, many patrons stopped by to take advantage of a chance to win a $50 Walmart gift card, four-hours of cleaning services and an iPod.

Thanks to the Southern Women's show, Progress has gained several new Facebook fans and many more Middle Tennesseans are now aware that there are choices when their loved one ages.

Bethlehem Centers Senior Meeting

Director of Senior Services Crystal Martin spoke with a group of seniors at Bethlehem Centers last week. Bethlehem Centers Senior Adults program is in line with what Progress hopes to do for seniors - "enable seniors to live longer, more fulfilling lives." About 20 seniors from across Nashville attended the meeting. Many had never heard of Progress and were not aware that there are affordable options to help with making meals, cleaning their homes and providing other support at home.

Crystal Martin, Progress Director of Senior Services,  speaking on the different types of insurance Progress accepts for in-home care.
Progress accepts Medicaid, VA Aid & Assistance, Tennessee CHOICES and other insurances for our in-home care services. Progress also provides transportation services to seniors. Many of the seniors said the help with homemaker duties would be the most needed service for them. We'd like to thank Brooke Bell, Senior Programs Director at Bethlehem, for inviting us out to speak to the seniors.

If you would like to learn more about our services or would like to have our staff come and speak at an event, please let us know by sending us an e-mail or giving us a call.
Senior Services Administrator Brittany (left) and Crystal speaking at Bethlehem Centers last week.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jerry Adams to serve on "Paths to Entrepreneurship" panel April 3

Vanderbilt University junior Allen Huang views two of Jerry Adams' pieces in the Provocateurs, Entrepreneurs show at Kennedy Center.
Progress Inc.'s Jerry Adams will be one of the panelists at the Nashville Area Employment Consortium's "Paths to Entrepreneurship: A Panel Discussion for Artists and Others with Big Dreams from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 3 at Vanderbilt's Kennedy Center.
Jerry will be a featured artist on the panel, which will focus on the resources to support self-employment for artists with disabilities. Jerry, who lives in Cheatham County, is renown across Middle Tennessee for his watercolor paintings and other artwork that has been featured in galleries for more than 25 years. He has mastered selling and showing his work for several years.
 The NAEC event will be held in Room 241 of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. To register for the meeting, visit Vanderbilt's website. A pre-ordered lunch will be provided by Bagel Works and Perks for cash pick up that day.

To view Jerry's work, visit the Kennedy Center during business hours.
Seven of Jerry's pieces are currently being featured in the Kennedy Center's Provocateurs, Entrepreneurs exhibit until late May. Below are more photos of his work. A group of Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education students stopped by the Kennedy Center to review some of his art.