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Former hospital leader is new director for Randy and Friends
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Randy and Friends operates The Rooster's Perch on Bradford Street in downtown Gainesville. The nonprofit’s coffee shop is run by a few friends and is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

Dennis Scheidt wanted to contribute to something and give back to society.

The Cumming man was close to retirement from his job as the chief operating officer of Clayton General Hospital and saw an open position for the director of Randy and Friends, a nonprofit organization that assists young adults with mental and physical disabilities in Gainesville.

“I wanted to end (my career) well,” he said.

He got the job and has been working with the nonprofit for the past month and so far, so good. Since the organization first started three years ago, it has helped 60 individuals with their resumes, interviewing and other job searching skills, as well as placing them at jobs in local companies.

It’s also a goal to allow these young adults to live independent lifestyles.

The organization works with operations like the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, as well as word of mouth and local high schools to place these young adults.

Scheidt works closely with the clients, also known as “friends,” doing what he can to achieve the mission of the group.

The idea is to put these individuals to work in whatever capacity they fit, whether that be bagging groceries at Kroger or Publix or working in the fast food industry.

“They tend to like repetitive type jobs,” Scheidt said.

They could also be brewing coffee at the organization’s own Rooster’s Perch coffee shop.

The shop, located at 210 Bradford St., is run by a few friends and is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

It also serves chicken, egg and pimento cheese sandwiches.

It’s where Marcus Hayes has been working for the past three months.

“If you want to wake up, this is where you should come,” he said.

There’s also another location the organization use to help the young adults receive further training and coaching in job skills at the 7,000-square-foot Randy and Friends Enterprises on Oak Street.

They can learn trades like woodworking, laundry, shredding documents, refinishing furniture that is donated to them, cleaning services and more at the training site, but Scheidt wants to focus in on just one or two areas to perfect them.

“We want to narrow it down, do one (aspect) well,” he said.

The goal is also to break even on their own expenses and allow the friends to make a bit of money while they’re at it, as well.

Marty Owens, founder of Randy and Friends, agreed with this idea and thought it made the most sense for what they are striving for, which is to get people jobs at the end of the day.

“Everyone has something to offer other people,” she said.

Sometimes, those offerings just need to be pushed in a central direction.

While they strive to place every individual in a job they will excel in, sometimes that’s just not the case. For those people, they are looking to place them in jobs in-house.

Part of Scheidt’s mission is to increase the placements they have and make sure they’re as efficient as possible.

It was a perfect fit for him for a few reasons.

His experience in the hospital industry prepared him for the health aspects of the position. Scheidt had also worked with Hope Now Ministries, a faith-based organization that raises money for health care in Ukraine, in the past and had a strong faith he wanted to share in his next job.

Randy and Friends is centered around the belief that everyone is equal in God’s eyes and they are made a certain way for a reason, Scheidt said. The organization also strives to minister to the parents of the friends.

Scheidt also had a sister that suffered from a brain tumor and dealt with behavioral issues and saw how people with disabilities could be helped through the lens of a brother.

“(Randy and Friends) does pull on my heartstrings, as a brother,” Scheidt said.

He and his wife, Monica, also have 11 children, so he is accustomed to being around young adults.

“He’s an outstanding individual,” Owens said.

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