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By JUDY UNDERWOOD
Morgan County News Editor
Emory Valley Center in Oak Ridge is trying to operate on reduced funds due to state budget cuts and that crunch could end up being felt here in Morgan County.
Emory Valley operates the Advantage Center which was been in Morgan County since 1995.
Teresa Lowe and her staff at the Advantage Center provide a day program for mentally challenged adults. Staff at the Center provide transportation, help with developing personal skills, cognitive skills, job readiness skills and job coaching.
“Some do have the ability to work out in the county on a job,” said Lowe,
Several of the 15 adults being served by the Center work packaging beads for a Knoxville wholesaler. Those packages can be found in craft centers throughout the United States. Staff has created aids to help the clients do the work properly. Regardless of their skills levels, staff at the Center believe there “is always something each of them can do.”
Management at the Oak Ridge agency question the method being used to determine where the cuts are being made. They are asking local citizens who believe in the center and its mission in Morgan County to contact state officials and ask them to intervene.
“They are a vulnerable population and have very few people to advocate for them,” said Emory Valley President Jennifer Enderson.
Contact information for Sen. Tommy Kilby and Rep. John Mark Windle may be found on the Opinion Page in this week’s issue of the Morgan County News, Page 8B.