Alabaster realtor donates to Project SEARCH

Local realtor Sonia Coleman, third from right, helps Project SEARCH members with a Habitat for Humanity build in November 2013. (Contributed)

Local realtor Sonia Coleman, third from right, helps Project SEARCH members with a Habitat for Humanity build in November 2013. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – For Project SEARCH job coach Kim Kielbasa, her friend’s donation to the program on Nov. 20 meant much more to her than just money.

“The love and support she shows to the program makes a difference,” Kielbasa said of her friend and local Keller Williams Realty agent, Sonia Coleman. “Sonia is definitely genuine about it.”

Coleman donated $600 from her realty sales to Project SEARCH during the organization’s Nov. 20 open house at its offices in Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

Project SEARCH works with special-needs students in Shelby County, Pelham and Alabaster schools to offer the students internships at area businesses, and also works to find the students jobs after they graduate.

Coleman has been heavily involved with Project SEARCH since volunteering to help with a Habitat for Humanity build alongside Project SEARCH class members in November 2013.

While working on the house, Coleman said she quickly became friends with the class members, and said she has never seen another group work as hard as the Project SEARCH members.

“It does put things into perspective as far as your own troubles,” Coleman said. “They are all facing challenges, and they are always upbeat, always in a good mood.”

Since the Habitat build, Coleman has spent plenty of time around the Project SEARCH program, and has become a familiar face at the organization’s events and offices.

During an interview before the Nov. 20 open house, Coleman was full of praise for Project SEARCH.

“I have a really fragile heart when it comes to special needs,” Coleman said. “To see them get placed in jobs and to see them get to do things they’ve never gotten to do before, it’s amazing.”

Kielbasa said Coleman’s donation is important to the future of Project SEARCH, which is a nonprofit organization.

“It’s because of wonder people like her that we can keep growing,” Kielbasa said. “But the time she has spent being a part of Project SEARCH, you can’t put a price on that.”