Press Release

Cross Cafe manager named employer of the year

AUGUSTA, Maine — Richard Desjardins, a self-employed Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise Program manager, was awarded the James R. Schmidt Award at Kennebec Behavioral Health’s 53rd annual meeting.

Kennebec Behavior Health manages Capitol Clubhouse, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for adults who experience mental illness by providing social, educational and employment opportunities.

Desjardins is the manager of Cross Cafe, which began employing Capitol Clubhouse members in 2006. The Business Enterprise Program is an entrepreneurial program for people who are legally blind or visually impaired.

The James R. Schmidt award is presented to an individual who exemplifies Schmidt’s legendary efforts to improve the quality of life for adults who experience mental illness. Desjardins demonstrates Schmidt’s efforts and the mission of Capitol Clubhouse by providing a safe environment for people with mental illnesses to work.

The Cross Café has been a strong partner of the Clubhouse, providing a supportive working environment for members. Kathy Reardon, director of Capitol Clubhouse, presented the James R. Schmidt Award to Desjardins.

The mission of the Business Enterprise Program is to provide people who are blind with rewarding and profitable entrepreneurial ventures and broaden economic opportunities, while combating the misconceptions of the visually impaired community and displaying their unique abilities.

Maine residents with disabilities considering employment options should contact the Department of Labor at  623-6799 (TTY users please use Maine Relay 711) for information about the vocational rehabilitation program and application process or visit http://www.employmentforme.org/ .

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