Liberty’s Station Breaks Employment Barriers


Liberty’s Station is a social enterprise created to provide real-world work skills education to those with employment barriers, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, veterans with PTSD, people who have been incarcerated, teens just getting out of the foster care system, and those in other challenging life situations. Their mission is to provide these people with paid internships that include job coaching, help with resumes, development of soft skills, and placement in full time employment upon completion of the program.

Work skills are acquired via a hands-on environment in a café and retail store setting with the help of volunteer specialists who provide job coaching and occupational therapy. The first class of interns are currently providing patrons of the café, located in an old converted garage behind Toot’s, with specialty grilled cheese sandwiches, soups and salads out of a food truck that was donated by Peter and Kristin Demos of Demos Restaurants.

The non-profit is the brainchild of Jody Powers, who founded Amelia’s Closet six years ago to help provide women in need with work attire free of charge so they could attain employment. She has pulled together a strong Board of Directors for Liberty’s Station that includes Lori Richardson Thomas, Gale Stoner, Mike James, Gwen McGriff Turner and Candy Borah Russell. And her Board of Trustees includes Kelli Fussell Beam, Kristin Coile Demos, Lacey Nichole Buchanan, Layne Allen, Shelia and Matt Barnett, Lisa and Jeff Carlton, and K. Beth Duffield.

Before the program could be opened, Powers found a dedicated team to help her convert a 50-year-old, 7,500 square foot former auto garage into a café, store, and event space that can be rented out for private and corporate parties.

After the building was converted, three occupational therapy interns were brought on board to work with the first class going through the program. According to the Liberty’s Station Facebook page, the three young women who served leapt at the chance to work with the new enterprise.

liberty's station“I chose to come work with Liberty’s Station to learn more about community-based settings,” said Kaitlyn from Murry State University. “Getting to work with the first interns has been so rewarding. They are so determined and have taught me more about resilience and what it looks like to chase a dream.”

Kayla, also from Murry State University, explained, “I got to meet Jody Powers in March during a … clinical rotation in town, and got to hear her vision and dream for Liberty’s Station. So, when my professor told me about the opportunity to intern there this fall, I said ‘yes’ before she could finish her sentence! The hope and joy that Jody is bringing to these individuals and families is inspiring, and I’m blessed to be a small part of her big dream. I have loved every minute of getting to know and work with the first interns as we build the program.”

“Liberty’s Stations is giving these individuals an opportunity that so few with special needs receive. This is so empowering for them. I can’t wait to see them turn their potential into success,” exclaimed Rachel from University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Powers is partnering with The Sweet Addiction to provide the desserts at Liberty’s Station according to an article in the Murfreesboro Pulse. Founded by Robin Housch, The Sweet Addiction works with women who have been incarcerated, victims of human trafficking, or victims of domestic violence. They make a proprietary line of baked goods and items like aprons and carry-alls that they sell online. Powers hopes to eventually be able to add bakery training, with the help of Housch, to what her interns will be able to learn.

Liberty’s Station
850 NW Broad Street
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
(615) 584-9029

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