Dan is finishing at Chapel Haven in June. There will be a ceremony with a certain amount of pomp and circumstance. My family is joining for the festivities. We approach the milestone with joy and trepidation. Joy for completion of a stage and fear for a transition to be faced. I’m not quite sure what the future holds for Dan but I can tell you he will live in Maryland, close to family and friends. He will learn the community in which he lives, he will continue to grow as an adult and he will be supported by people that care for him.
I have been working as the Campus and Community Liaison for College Living Experience for nearly a year. College Living Experience provides wrap around services to students with an array of learning challenges. Our services include academic supports and tutoring; independent living supports such as financials, grocery group and apartment maintenance, and social skill building through social outing s and focus groups.
I am the Campus and Community Liaison at the Rockville office of College Living Experience. You may wonder what my title means. I often do too. I go out into the community to help our students find employment. The campus aspect is still amorphous, unless you include helping students transfer to four year colleges. This includes college visits occasionally. But more often than not, I am working on pre-employment skills, soft skills, and skills needed to get a job and keep a job. Once a student is in a work site, I visit to get feedback from the employer. Then I work with the student to build the skills needed to keep the job, as a result of the feedback given.
Skill building is challenging for the students I work with. They may have trouble with task completion such as resume building and paperwork; but the true challenge is the soft skills such as shaking hands, eye contact and appropriate voice. The biggest hurdle is gaining acceptance and trust of the employer. I do a lot of work to build relationships with potential employers. If I can get a foot in the door and develop a relationship, then I can hopefully help the employer to hire one of my students.
February is Jewish Disabilities Advocacy month. Have you heard of it? No? Me either. That amuses me since I am both an advocate for the disabled community and Jewish. The only way I found out was by someone asking me if I was attending a policy seminar. I didn’t attend simply because I didn’t know. Also, I am now working full time and have to be conscious of my schedule. More on the new job tomorrow. Bye for now!