2016-2017 AHEDD Success Stories
“Banking” on a Better Future- DaMario
DaMario was offered the part-time Teller 1 position of 25 hours per week! In less than 30 days from AHEDD’s initial meeting with DaMario, his employment began with off-site training on February 16th and his first day at the Harrisburg branch was February 23, 2016. Once at the branch, DaMario sent an email stating, “Just wanted to let you know everything is going great. Yesterday was my first official day at my branch. And it was awesome!"
By May 2nd, DaMario's hours increased and he had achieved his goal for a full-time position with benefits. His SSDI cash benefits ceased in January 2017 (following the Trial Work Period) and he entered an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) for another 36 consecutive months. The EPE is such a great incentive for SSDI beneficiaries: it takes some of the fear out of attempting a return to work.
DaMario celebrated his one-year anniversary in February of 2017. According to Laurie Kyler, DaMario’s manager, “We could not ask to have a more reliable and enjoyable employee on our team than DaMario. It is an honor to be part of his story and success.”
DaMario Assisting a Customer
Reaching Her Goals and Greater Independence- Jennifer
Jennifer was initially referred to AHEDD by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation OVR in December of 2015. She struggles with reading and writing comprehension and also has recurring muscle spasms in her back.
When services began for Jennifer, a Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) recipient, her employment goal was to become teacher assistant or work at a daycare. She’s a single Mom that was looking to work a schedule similar to her children’s school times; the plan was to start part time and eventually move to full time hours with earnings of at least $9.50 an hour.
In March of 2016; she began at BCIU as a Bus Assistant/ Van Driver for twenty-five hours a week. Her duties included driving the bus, assisting the students on the bus, attaching safety harnesses, maintaining order on the bus, monitoring student’s interactions, and keeping attendance. She did very well in her position as a Bus Assistant.
Just a few weeks into employment at BCIU, Jennifer moved on to a Full Time Paraprofessional Educator position within BCIU; making more money than she hoped in her initial goal planning. In this position her responsibilities included: assisting students with their activities of daily living, implementing student IEPs, assisting in evaluating individual students, collecting data, compiling records/documentation, and monitoring students throughout the day.
The Importance of the First Job- Kasey
Kasey was referred to AHEDD by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in January of 2017. At the time of referral, he was a 17 year old High School student with no work experience.
The initial goal was to help Kasey set up a short term Work Based Learning Experience (WBLE) where he could get valuable experience and prepare for employment after school was over. Since Kasey’s goal is to work in the front end of a grocery store, AHEDD was able to secure Kasey a short term experience as a Porch Attendant at Weis Markets. In this position, Kasey is responsible for keeping the cart corrals clear, helping the customers unload their groceries into the car, retrieving carts when customers are done with them, cleaning up the litter in the front of the store, collecting trash from receptacles throughout the store , and maintaining the cleanliness of restrooms.
Due to his diagnosis of Autism, it was important to see if Kasey was going to work well within a public setting like a grocery store. This store requires porch attendants to greet customers with a smile and a helpful attitude. Kasey has excelled above and beyond the required standard in this component of his assigned tasks. He also demonstrated that he could catch on to instructions, perform tasks independently, and ask questions when he needs direction.
Management and co-workers at the Weis Market have shared multiple compliments on Kasey’s progress, work ethic, and excellent customer relations.
Kasey and his Manager, Andrew
Lynn (on right) with Employment Specialist, Debra
Balancing Life, Health and Work- Lynn
Lynn was referred to AHEDD back in 2012 by Northwest Counseling. She’s a high school graduate who had continued her education at the University of Oregon where she received an Associates Degree in Biology.
Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when she was 28, Lynn had been institutionalized for two years and told she would never again reside outside the institution or have a job. Lynn was eventually released from this institution in California and eventually moved to Pennsylvania, earlier in 2012.
When she came to AHEDD for assistance, her anxiety was severe enough that she was only able to handle being in a busy, demanding environment for about 2 hours before she would need to retreat to another location.
After coming to AHEDD, Lynn was initially successful in obtaining employment as a food service worker for a Mini Market around April of 2014. In December 2014, Lynn transitioned to providing in-home care for individuals with disabilities through Comfort Keepers. Lynn is very successful in this Home Health Aide position and has become a frequently requested caregiver. Her supervisor stated that every client has wanted Lynn to return and she works well with the other employees.