BY CARMEN SIERING
Beginning with this issue, Stone Belt clients are now distributing Bloom to the more than 200 locations where readers can pick up a free copy of the magazine. Stone Belt is a nonprofit organization that provides education and support to individuals with developmental disabilities.
“We distribute about 11,000 copies of the magazine in Monroe and Brown counties,” says Malcolm Abrams, editor and publisher of Bloom. “We’re pleased we can support Stone Belt in this way and that we can offer this opportunity to its clients.”
In early August, Stone Belt will also distribute Bloom’s sister publication, Distinctively Bloomington, the annual advertising book available in hotel guestrooms and at select businesses.
Tyler Frazee, a coordinator with Stone Belt’s Lifelong Learning program, says that between eight and 10 clients, along with support staff, will handle the distribution, which is similar to work Stone Belt clients have done as volunteers for groups such as Meals on Wheels.
“I know the skills they will build with this job are great,” Frazee says. “And working with Bloom, the clients will be paid. More importantly, they’ll be out in the community, getting to know people in local businesses, building relationships and connections, and improving their lives in meaningful ways.”
Stone Belt CEO Leslie Green says partnering with Bloom is another vehicle that allows people with disabilities to be included in Bloomington’s everyday life. “This is just part of a broader program, not only here at Stone Belt but in the community at large,” she says. “It fits really well with our larger efforts.”
Approximately 20 Stone Belt clients work or volunteer in the community each day through the Lifelong Learning program; another 80 are employed in the workshop at its East 10th Street facility.
“This is just something we really believe in,” Frazee says. “Work is essential for everyone.”