For over a decade, the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities has provided Malone University with hard-working and dedicated cleaning crews to take on some of the residence halls’ biggest messes.
The men and women of these cleaning crews are part of Stark County’s supported employment program which works with local universities. This program helps people with developmental disabilities to find jobs and earn an income to support themselves.
Their work on campus includes all types of cleaning with each team member responsible for a different task. Some workers are responsible for vacuuming or dusting.
One woman (whose privacy has been respected) said her job was “[getting] the floor, sink, and shower done.”
Each cleaning crew is managed by a cleaning supervisor who works closely with the men and women who help keep campus clean.
“I love my job. We are like a family,” said Danny Lewitzke, who works as a supervisor of the cleaning crews.
“I also like seeing the pleasure [the cleaning crews] get out of doing stuff for you guys,” said Lewitzke about his favorite part of his job.
Lewitzke has worked with Malone University for 17 years. In that time the Malone community has come to unofficially refer to the cleaning crews as the ‘buddies’. Lewitzke has an eye-opening conviction for Malone about using ‘buddies’ as a nickname.
“I hate it,” Lewitzke said.
Instead Lewitzke suggested another option.
“How about their names? I have always wanted the students to call each of my workers by their name.” Lewitzke said.
He also told a favorite story of how his cleaning crew instantly forgave the thoughtless prank of a college student—they did not get angry or hold a grudge.
“I really admire my crew’s capacity for forgiveness,” Lewitzke said.
There is a lot to learn from the attitude and character of the men and women of the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities. These cleaning crews take great pride and joy in their work at Malone University.
Adam Sharpnack is a senior history and English double major.