News Article Details

Free concert to benefit people with disabilities

Gaston Gazette - 9/11/2017

Sept. 11--Jamison Anderson knows the value of what ComServ does for developmentally challenged men and women just from having worked there for more than a year.

What has driven the point home even further is seeing how his own child has benefitted from the nonprofit's services in the last few months. Twenty-four-year-old Deqwan Nash suffers from autism, but in addition to learning job skills at ComServ, coming to the day program provides an opportunity to him to socialize and form positive relationships with other people.

"He normally doesn't like crowds, so it's about getting used to being in an environment with other people and interacting with peers," said Anderson. "But he's real big here. Everybody loves him. He directs karaoke sometimes and is the MC who gets everybody else up."

ComServ offers a day program that aims to maximize the potential for achievement and overall life experiences for people with varying levels of cognitive disabilities, providing them with work opportunities and more. Many of its 57 clients live in area group homes and come to the center on Delta Drive on weekdays.

Because it is a nonprofit, ComServ is constantly searching for ways to increase funding and expand the services it provides. Much of that depends on raising awareness, and the organization's next effort to spread its message will come during an event titled "Created to Shine." It will serve as a free gospel music concert Saturday, Sept. 16 at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Gastonia.

Though there will be no admission charge, donations for ComServ will be accepted that evening. T-shirts and handmade crafts created by men and women who attend the day program will also be for sale.

All proceeds will benefit ComServ's mission, helping to purchase art supplies and other equipment, and to pay for occasional off-site field trips to places such as Carowinds, said spokesman Terry Goble.

"We try to have a dinner for them around the holidays, and this will help fund that," he said. "And it will help buy material for our Supported Employment classroom, where we train them to find jobs and be in the workforce."

Performers during the Sept. 16 concert will include the Stanley Pentecostal Holiness Gospel Bluegrass Band, a trio known as Threefold Chord, a mime, and the Southminster Presbyterian praise team.

ComServ is based in Morganton, and has locations in Hickory, Lenoir and Gastonia. Since moving to its new home on Delta Drive more than two years ago, it has only added to its client base, and now also has 22 staff members. Clients are typically referred to the company by case workers, and services they receive are paid for by Medicare and Medicaid.

One of Anderson's responsibilities is to help clients meet their daily goals from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Tuesday, he and William "Flub" Falls peeked in at an art class where crafts were being made for the Sept. 16 sale. Their next stop would be the exercise room.

"I'll help take him out of his wheelchair and get him on an exercise bike," said Anderson. "He'll be on that maybe 30 minutes."

Anderson said he appreciates not only having a chance to help the men and women at ComServ, but to see how his son has grown from being there.

"He didn't have an outlet before to explore the things he really can do," he said.

You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.

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(c)2017 Gaston Gazette, Gastonia, N.C.

Visit Gaston Gazette, Gastonia, N.C. at www.gastongazette.com

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