Helping People with Disabilities Achieve Independence
Two JCFS programs – Residential Supports and the Duman Opportunity Center – are working together to help individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) achieve independence and be active members of their communities.
Residential Supports focuses on providing safe housing and support services to adults with I/DD. Staffed 24/7 by trained professionals, these homes provide a supportive environment where residents receive assistance with daily living activities, transportation, and access to social opportunities. The program is dedicated to ensuring personal outcomes and independence for people with disabilities.
Once residents are feeling comfortable in their home, they are often ready to explore employment opportunities. This is where the Duman Opportunity Center comes in. The employment specialists work with job seekers to identify their interests and strengths, and then map out a career path with on-the-job coaching.
The employment discovery process begins with conversations with the job seeker, as well as with their family members, friends, former teachers, and the staff at Residential Supports. This helps the Duman team gain insight into what environment would be the best fit for the individual, as well as the skills they have to offer.
Using the information gathered, a Customized Employment plan is created, which targets industries and employers that could be a good fit for the job seeker. Employment specialists then work with the individual, family members, and the potential employer to create a customized job opportunity. The focus is on finding the right fit for both parties, rather than trying to fit the individual into a predetermined job. Through the Customized Employment process, individuals with disabilities have been placed in a variety of jobs, including retail stores, animal shelters, restaurants, bowling alleys, and grocery stores.
The impact of job placement services is significant. Not only do job seekers with disabilities have an income and contribute to their communities, but they are also interacting with new people outside of their support systems. By fostering these relationships, individuals with disabilities have more opportunities for independence and growth.
“The satisfaction gained from having a job and being a productive member of the community is immeasurable,” says Leticia Cardoso, Director of Residential Supports. “By having a job and being able to answer the question ‘what do you do?’ with pride, individuals feel more connected to their community and have a higher sense of self-worth.”
With the help of programs like Residential Supports and the Duman Opportunity Center, individuals with I/DD can achieve independence and find success in their communities.