WESTMINSTER — The petite, curly haired young woman was busy hanging a shipment of sweat shirts at Caldor in Cranberry Mall.
While hers is perhaps not the most glamorous job, she likes it.
Kay Brown, a 26-year-old Westminster resident and daughter of Kenneth and Catherine Brown, works 6 to 11 a.m. four days a week, usually ticketing merchandise. She has worked part time at the store for almost 3 1/2 years.
Brown, who is mentally retarded, has earned Carroll Haven's Achievement Award for continuous community employment. She will receive the award at tomorrow's 1 p.m. awards luncheon at Havilah Inn in Taneytown.
"She shows up all the time," said Scott DeFrancesco, Caldor's early morning manager. "She's very dependable and ahard worker."
The Caldor job is the first for Brown, a graduate of the Carroll County Education Center, and the pride in her achievement showed clearly Monday when she was congratulated on her award.
Carroll Haven's Support Employment Program, begun more than four years ago, has 20 mentally disabled adults employed around the county with a variety of companies, said program coordinator Kim Hutchinson.
"They all have mental retardation and are over the age of 21," Hutchinson said. "They're doing very well. The people we work with are severely handicapped and were considered unemployable, but we've obviously proved they are employable."
Carroll Haven contacts employers, arranges a job for the mentally disabled person and provides training, support and follow-up, Hutchinson said.
Tomorrow's luncheon alsowill honor the K mart at Carrolltowne Mall in Eldersburg as Employerof the Year. Store manager Ronald Pagels said the K mart employs from one to three of Carroll Haven's clients.
"They're terrific," Pagels said. "They're eager to come to work and do a good job and interact with the other employees. In fact, we just had a birthday for one of them."
K mart, Caldor and Westminster Inn will receive honoraryawards for their continuous support of the program, Hutchinson said.
Other companies that employ Carroll Haven clients are Ledo's Pizza, Taco Bell, Kirby's, Joseph A. Bank, Ryland Homes and Burger King, she added. Most firms employ one client, while others have as many asfive that work in rotation, she said.
Carroll Haven will give gold star lapel pins to clients for their length of employment in the community:
* Four years: Bonnie Austin, 26, of Sykesville; Robin Feezer, 28, of Marriottsville; Pat Cossentino, 52 of Westminster; and Deb Sidman, 39, of Westminster.
* Three years: Crystal Brauning, 28,of Westminster; Juanita Haines, 27, of Sykesville (at the same employer); Neil Walter, 40, of Finksburg; Kevin Long, 30, of Finksburg; and Stacy Nickens, 24, of New Windsor.
* Two years: Charles Page, 40, of Westminster (at the same employer) and Liz Babylon, 43, of Westminster.