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Buncombe County Growth Through Opportunity Program

by The Urban News

Fire Departments and Law Enforcement Partner with Local Nonprofits to Support Individuals With Developmental Disabilities.

A local partnership between first responders and public service agencies is hoping to make a difference with the Buncombe County Growth Through Opportunity Program.

The mission of the program is “to enhance the lives of our cadets through training and confidence-building objectives to promote a life of opportunity and contribution for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.”

The program began with the recognition that young adults with disabilities frequently encounter a need for services that outweigh the programs available to them. A community of agencies partnered to serve these individuals by providing them with valuable social and career experiences within a professional setting. Partners include the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, Asheville Police Department, City of Asheville Fire Department, Leicester Fire Department, Skyland Fire Department, The Arc of Buncombe County, Liberty Corner Enterprises, and Universal MH/DD/SAS.

“This highly unique training program is one-of-a-kind,” said Linda McDaniel, Director of The Arc of Buncombe County. “It is meant to enhance their vocational and independent living skills and prepare them for community-based employment.”

“This program is truly a win-win for those involved,” added Konrad Fuhri, from the Leicester Fire Department.

Fuhri has participated with various cohorts of the programming and attests to the positive outcomes for first responders and the young adult cadets involved. The program has received funding and support from the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office since 2020 when the program launched.

“This program allows my team to foster a commitment to engaging with the diverse community that represents Buncombe County and supporting their opportunity to thrive. I am proud to support this program and the difference it is making with each…

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