By Dorothy Puch Lillig
Businesses, organizations or individuals needing secure document destruction in the Spring Branch District area can now get those services and, at the same time, support the vocational goals of young adults with disabilities.
Shred for Independence (SFI) is a document destruction company in Houston where young adults with autism and/or intellectual disabilities learn to work and grow within the community.
As a vocational component of the Summerhouse Houston program, members working at Shred for Independence learn skills necessary for holding a job, including customer service, working continuously, working at an appropriate pace, and asking for help when needed. In addition, they learn to value themselves as important members of a team.
“Without each member of our team, the work does not get done. They feel productive and successful — because they are,” said Summerhouse Houston Program Associate Brooke Magers. “I love watching clients interact with members during shred pick up and watching their relationships grow over time.”
SFI offers secure bins and/or consoles in your business, scheduled and unscheduled pick-ups on a twice a month, monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually basis.
Shred for Independence comes to your business, empties your bin/console into a secure container, and takes your documents to their Spring Branch location for confidential sorting and shredding. All shred materials are recycled.
Current customers include schools, law firms, CPAs, realtors, not for profits, and other companies and individuals needing secure document destruction.
Patrick Billette, who is in shred vocational training, says: “I love doing shred pick up because you get to go out in the community to pick up papers that need to be shredded. I also like SFI because it’s a great way to meet new people while having fun. My favorite part of recycle drop off is getting to play with all the shredded paper and meeting new people at Waste Management. Also, I love hitting bumps in the truck and flying around like crazy!”
Summerhouse Houston moved into a new 4,620-square-foot building at 1424 Waseca in August. “The move to Spring Branch has allowed us to substantially increase our capacity and we are now able to add new customers,” Magers said.
Summerhouse Houston was founded by Donna Fruge when her daughter, Summer, was finishing high school via a special education program. As she was trying to figure out what would came next for her daughter, Fruge toured programs all over the city and wasn’t happy with what she saw. She wanted a program that offered vocational training, real employment and involvement in the community.
From that vision, Fruge and her husband started “The Summerhouse.”
Monday through Thursdays mornings at Summerhouse Houston are vocation-based. Some individuals have regular jobs in the community; others go in groups of three to four with a staff member to volunteer at local organizations, including MAM, Houston Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, Heights Food Pantry, and Kid’s Meals. Others work at Shred for Independence.
Monday through Thursday afternoons are focused on learning skills, socialization, and health, while Fridays are fun days when members and staff go out for lunch and explore the town. Sometimes local businesses will sponsor an activity.
On April 9 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., everyone is invited to “Shredfest.”
“Bring us paper you need destroyed and enjoy light refreshments, games, prizes and learn more about what we do and who we are,” Magers said.
Contact Brooke Magers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 832-200-6158 Ext 5 for more details or to sign up as a Shred for Independence customer.
Summerhouse is having an Open House on March 12.
RSVP here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd5HBlpnbdL94jz6UTSyRvpXS3bgrxIVZPcENsw8W_9Zq2R0w/viewform