Author Archives: Amy Zuck

Charlotte Celebrates 15 Years of Service at COC

Charlotte stepped outside of her comfort zone and did a courageous thing. She applied for a job.
Applying for a new job may not seem like a big deal, but it is something to be celebrated for all of us at COC. You see, Charlotte had only worked in COC’s Sheltered employment program since she moved to Marion County. She had never held a job in the community. With encouragement from staff and family, she applied for a job that interested her that became open at COC, the Kitchen assistant. Charlotte competitively interviewed alongside many other people, and COC offered her the position. That was 15 years ago.

Today, Charlotte still holds the same position and is still loving her job. She says, “It’s fun working in the kitchen at COC. I really like my co-workers, and I get to see my friends.”
Congratulations, Charlotte! We are so happy that you stepped outside of your comfort zone and applied for that job. You are a joy to work with every day. Thank you for your years of service to COC

COC Golf Classic to be held on June 11th

Christian Opportunity Center (COC) is excited to announce the COC Golf Classic will be taking place on June 11th at the Bos Landen Golf Club in Pella. This is the 19th year for the COC Golf Classic; it remains COC’s most significant fundraising event.  In 2020, COC canceled the Golf Classic twice due to Covid.

This year’s event will look a little different compared to years past events. One such change is that there will not be a dinner after the tournament has ended.  Instead, golfers will have boxed lunches provided for them before the tournament.

The Golf Classic committee has also added a new option that will allow golfers to “Support from a Distance” if they are not ready to participate in a group event.  Golfers who choose the “Support from a Distance” option will receive a gift certificate to Bos Landen for 18 holes, a Calloway Golf shirt, and a gift bag.  These gift certificates must be redeemed during the summer of 2021. “It will be a great way for people to continue to support COC, have fun, but do it when they are comfortable,” said Amy Zuck, Golf Classic Committee chair.

A silent auction will coincide with the Golf Classic, and this year’s auction will be online only.  Anyone in the community will be able to participate in the silent auction.  Details of the silent auction will be announced on COC’s social media pages the week before the event.  COC is still accepting silent auction items. 

“We are excited to get back a bit of normalcy to our organization and experience a day of fun and fellowship as we celebrate COC.,” said Amy Zuck.

If your business wants to sponsor this year’s Golf Classic or provide a silent auction item, please contact Amy Zuck. Registration is now open for golfers at or by contacting Amy Zuck directly at 641-628-1162.

COC Golf Classic

COC Awarded Grants to Teach Critical Vocational Skills

Christian Opportunity Center was recently awarded two separate grants by the Warren County Philanthropist Partnership and the United Way of Marion County. Both grants focused on teaching vocational skills to individuals with disabilities who are employed in the community. The grants allowed Community Based Employment (CBE) staff to purchase iPad and the Work Autonomy application. The I pads and app will enable individuals with disabilities more independence at their jobs. They will be able to check schedules, request time off, communicate with managers and co-workers, and keep motivated as they work.
COC thanks the Warren County Philanthropist Partnership and the Marion County United Way for their continued support.


Russ Houghton Celebrates his Retirement

Russ Houghton of Indianola retired for the second time in his lifetime on New Year’s Eve.  Houghton’s first retirement was from Cement Tech in Indianola. On his last day at Cement Tech, Christian Opportunity Center (COC) offered Houghton a Living Sills Advisor position.  A Living Skills Advisor is responsible for the supervision and providing interactive training for people with disabilities in group home settings.  After 12 years working in different locations at COC, Russ has decided to retire for the final time, as stated in his resignation letter.

Houghton has worked most of his career in COC’s Indianola Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) residential programs and worked as a substitute in other COC programs.  Christie Avant, Houghton’s supervisor, said, “Besides being a dedicated staff working overnights, then moving to early mornings, Russ has blessed People Supported and staff with conducting Bible studies. Russ always has a positive attitude and calming demeanor.”

During Houghton’s time at COC, he recalled many fond memories of the People Supported and staff at COC and often boasts that he could write a book with all his memories. After re-entering the workforce after his retirement, he was very pleased with his experience at COC.  Houghton mentioned COC’s interview process and the many perks that the COC’s Staff Enhancement Fund offers COC employees.

Houghton and his wife have six children, three of whom have also worked at COC.

Avant continued, “He will be greatly missed by the People Supported and all of his co-workers!” Everyone at COC wishes Russ a happy retirement and thanks to Russ for his many years of service to COC.   

Our mission is to Integrate Christian values in empowering individuals with disabilities to realize their full potential.