October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. It is a time to “recognize the achievements of Americans with disabilities whose contributions in the workforce help ensure the strength of our Nation. We also renew our commitment to creating an environment of opportunity for all Americans and educating people about disability employment issues.”
Through the IndependenceWORKS program, we are committed to supporting the goals of our clients with disabilities – to help these individuals realize their dreams and to integrate them into the community by providing them with developmental supports, a social network, employment and a means of transportation.
We are proud to share several of our supported employment clients at their places of work, as well as comments from their families on what it means to them to hold a job.
Trevor Durrett – Burger King
“Having a job with varying responsibilities has always been important to Trevor, but he’s had trouble finding a job that can both utilize his skills and get past his limitations. The manager at Burger King gave him a chance one year ago, and it’s working out well. Trevor’s confidence has increased and he seems generally happier overall. He is managing his schedule, enjoying the camaraderie at work, and of course, enjoying having money that he earned himself. I think he’s even gotten better at managing his money, since it’s his alone and not just given to him. Thank you, Burger King, for giving him this opportunity and sticking with him while he learned the ropes!”
- Jeri Mauldin (mother)
Susan Deale – Hongar Farms
“Susan loves to work at Hongar Farms. Her job gives her independence and teaches her responsibility. Additionally, she looks forward to learning new job functions.”
- Judith Clapp (mother)
Susan Deale and Todd Hurst of Hongar Farms
Todd Besmertnik – Helping Feed Atlanta
“On Wednesdays, Todd “works” for Helping Feed Atlanta. He and their founder, David Skoke, go around and collect leftover fruits and vegetables and sometimes dairy from local Costco & Whole Foods and bring it to food banks and shelters. Todd has been doing this for 2 ½ years.
“David is both a friend and mentor to Todd. Todd and David have formed a close partnership, and it has helped Todd to mature and be a better person. David sometimes does a ‘Todd and David show’ to highlight their HFA activities and the amount of food collected. 1000- 2000 lbs of food is typical each Wednesday.”
- Sid Besmertnik (father)
Jackie Bailey – Kroger
“Jackie is a pre-mature triplet who was not as lucky as her brothers. She will be celebrating working at Kroger two years this January. We want to thank Kroger for giving her the opportunity to work in the retail segment. Mr. Fallier (store manager) and Ms. Demantha (manager) embraced the supported employment concept and have been instrumental in giving feedback to JFCS. JFCS has done a great job communicating with Kroger and our family so we a reinforce all feedback at home which has allowed our daughter to focus on continuous improvement. Please express our gratitude to the entire Kroger leadership team.”
- Karen Bailey (mother)
Vandana Sachdeva – Walgreens
“We thank JFCS for leading Vandana to Walgreens. The Walgreens work has made Vandana the confident and happy person that she is today. Walgreens is Vandana’s World. We, the Sachdeva family, extend our heartfelt thanks to Vandana’s Walgreens family for their support and understanding. Thank you again.”
- Anjana and Mahesh Sachdeva (parents)
Tyler Luciani – The Manor
“Tyler’s first (and so far only) paying job has been at The Manor. He is incredibly proud of his work there and the experience has increased not only his skill set but also boosted his confidence. All of the employees at the manor have been supportive of Tyler and treat him with kindness and respect. Our family is grateful to everyone at the manor for providing such a positive work environment for Tyler.”
- Sissy Luciani (mother)
David Reynolds – NOVO
“We’re very fortunate to have found an employer willing to work with my brother, knowing that if we found the right fit, he could find success. After what felt like years of work instability and worry, It’s nice seeing him confident, able to contribute and take care of important things like healthcare and finances with the job from NOVO. I honestly don’t know where he would be without this opportunity, so thank you to both NOVO and JFCS for all you do.”
- TJ Reynolds (brother)
Allison Rosenthal – Weinstein School
“Working for The Weinstein School – and most importantly, the kids at the Weinstein School gives Allison joy and purpose every day. No matter where I go in Atlanta, we bump into families positively impacted by the attention and love Allison gave their child. Her bosses Janice and Kim are also exceptional friends and life-guides for Allison as she continues to navigate work and the community.”
- Bari Love (sister)
David Bryan – Epstein School
“This is David Bryan’s 4th year working as an employee of the Epstein School after working as a JF&CS Team Works member at the school. We would like to thank The Epstein School, Ms. Jane and her staff for giving David the opportunity to be a part of this team. David’s sense of belonging has reinforced his strengths of dedication, loyalty, and responsibility for everything that happens in his domain. We are so proud of David for having these work ethics. Alan and I are very grateful to the Epstein School for seeing his potential in taking on the daily tasks and helping feed everybody. David is probably the only one in the school sad to see summer vacation begin and the Happiest to see the start of the new school year.”
- Terrie and Alan Bryan (parents)
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