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Showing posts from 2015

Above & Beyond Their Call of Duty

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There are so many talented people working at The Choice Group and each year we like to recognize those who go above and beyond their call of duty.  These are exceptional people working on teams to help bring the best service to our customers and why we've been able to grow so much over the years!  Congratulations to you all!
Rising Star Award: Rebecca Allen Advocate Award: Senior Counselor John Callahan Rookie of the Year: Tiffany Brown MVP award: Shadi Zadeh Order Out of Chaos award: Lisa Marie Rock Award: Justin Sheets Go-to Award: Cate Engel Rising Star Award: Heather Gilman Team Award: NOVA Stretch Award: Caitlin Igoe Joe Edwards Leadership Award: Erica Johnson Humanitarian Award, in memory of Dottie Edward: Theresa Anderson Mary Smith Award: Pam Russel

Celebrating A Year of Success!

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The Christmas Party for all of our staff members was a success!  We are so glad that all of our offices could come together and have a great time celebrating their hard work.  The Choice Group was started with just a small group of people with a vision and now we have a network of more than 100 employees who are all so amazingly dedicated to their jobs.  It was good to cut loose and watch people have fun in the selfie-corner!


Sylvia Frye: Virtual Resume

Sylvia’s virtual resume is a great example of how innovative and resourceful our counselors can be in helping clients find work they’re passionate about. Click here to find out more about Sylvia Frye, or to hire her!

Giancarlo & Advocacy for Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Take a look at some of the valuable services and supports that DARS can provide for individuals with disabilities and what this has meant for a young man with autism as he has progressed through postsecondary education and  preparing for his ideal  job in the technology industry.  

Two brothers using AT intervention strategies to find success

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This video shows Assistive Technology intervention strategies that have proven invaluable for two brothers as they work with our Vocational Rehabilitation program to expand their knowledge, skills, and independence and strive toward their dreams of education, meaningful careers, and self-sufficiency.

Disability Services at Universities

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At The Choice Group, we strive to help people with disabilities discover their ability.  This includes young adults in transitional periods of their lives.  From leaving home for the first time to attend postsecondary schools, to preparing meals, or scheduling transportation, The Choice Group is here to help our clients work through any challenges they may face step by step.

     A greater awareness of issues like accessibility and inclusive work or educational environments help make these transitions less daunting for people with disabilities.  This article by Michelle Diament sheds light on how unprepared universities seem to be for the growing number of students with disabilities, and how we need to step up the game!



Greater Transparency Urged for College Disability Services

Amid concerns from advocates, a U.S. senator is calling on federal education officials to make information about disability services at the nation’s colleges more readily available.

In a letter this week, U…

Franz Stillfried Barrier Free Achievers Honor Roll

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Ericka Neville- Manager, Hampton Roads
Thank you to Ericka Neville and her staff for nominating the winner of the Franz Stillfried Barrier Free Achievers Honor Roll.  This award is given to recognize the efforts made by individuals, businesses or organizations for the removal of architectural, attitudinal and environmental barriers.  The winner was an individual by the name of Keith Johnson employed by Hampton Roads Transit as the Manager of Paratransit Operations.  Keith was so impressed by the words spoken about him he asked who wrote them - it was a collaborative effort, so again thank you Hampton Roads team!

Join us in honoring our dedicated employees!

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Adair Jensen-Smith received the President’s Award from the Virginia Rehabilitation Association. This award is given to an individual for outstanding service to the association and its goals.  It was noted that Adair always goes above and beyond and at The Choice Group we already know this and that is one of the many reasons we appreciate her and honor her!

Congrats to our VARL Emerging Leader - Erica Johnson!

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Congratulations to our Area Manager, Erica Johnson for the Northern Virginia office, on earning the VARL Emerging Leader Award!  She does such a great job, but is so shy she didn't even want us to take this picture.  But too bad Erica, we are proud of you!

Meet Our Virginia Beach Counselors!

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Meet our Virginia Beach Staff!  With such a large area to serve, including an abundant military presence, our counselors are dedicated to their clients.  It is a source of deep personal satisfaction when we help our clients achieve a new level of independence through gainful employment.  Some of our clients are looking to supplement their disability benefits while others are working to achieve full financial independence through various programs such as Ticket to Work.  Whatever your financial goals, finding meaningful employment can be a part of a well-rounded, enriching lifestyle.  Our knowledgeable and resourceful staff can help you lay the groundwork for whatever your employment goals may be.

Tracie Showalter
Renee Arnold
Kim Heisser
Lisa Handke
Rebecca Allen
Sarah Morgan
Kim Yoakum
Rachel McGregor
Liz Collison
Katherine Edwards
Roxanne Monroe
Amorita Clark
Nancy McNamara - Lead Counselor



Meet Our Counselors in Northern Virginia

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We have four offices throughout Virginia dedicated to helping people with disabilities find meaningful employment.  Our staff goes above and beyond every day to help people understand their benefits, find a job suited for them, and help their clients reach goals they might not have thought previously possible.  This is why we'd like to introduce our enthusiastic counselors in the Northern Virginia area that are committed to helping our clients reach their employment goals.

James Tarawali
Shadi Zadeh
Kisha Joseph
Tiffany Brown
Jamie Malloy
Erica Johnson - Manager
John Callahan
Travis Greene
Kim Warfield
Stephanie Hill - Lead Counselor

Funding for Vocational Rehabilitation

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A recent article on Disability Scoop by Shaun Heasley sheds light on the funding that will be shared with our great state of Virginia to make employment for people with disabilities a reality.
Millions Pledged For Vocational Rehabilitation The U.S. Department of Education is handing out more than $12.6 million designed to enhance employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The money from the agency’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services will be divvied among agencies in 10 locales across the country to “help improve the outcomes of individuals with disabilities — from cradle through career,” the Education Department said. Some of the grants are for centers that offer technical assistance while other funds will go toward programs aimed at pairing people with disabilities looking for jobs with employers struggling to find workers with specific skills. “We want all individuals with disabilities to have opportunities and succeed,” said U.S. Secretary of Education…

Improving Disability Inclusion in Your Workplace

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In staying with the theme of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, from the U.S. Department of Labor Blog, here are some tips for employers to improve disability inclusion in the workplace:



5 Tips for Employers on Improving Disability Inclusion
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the recent White House Summit on Disability Employment explored how we can better include people with disabilities in the workplace. Here are five top takeaways from the summit for employers on improving disability inclusion:
1. Connect with local disability advocacy organizations
Advocacy organizations across the country are available to provide assistance with training, recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities. Let them know your business needs and goals and they can help improve your disability employment program.
2. Provide on-the-job training
Apprenticeship programs, paid internships and on-the-job training are essential to hav…

Benefits of Workplace Diversity

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Straight from EARN exchange, Business and Disability Blog are top reasons why having an inclusive and diverse workforce has a strategic advantage.  During the month of October, National Disability Employment Awareness month, take time to think about how your business could benefit from diverse perspectives.


Benefits of Diversity
Diverse workplaces have a distinct strategic advantage over less diverse competitors.
Some of the most significant benefits of workforce diversity include:
-The opportunity to capitalize on the diverse knowledge-base of workers when relating to different groups, including customers, partners and staff -Increased innovation and creativity -Reduced skills shortages -Improved customer services -Increased opportunities for external interactions and communications -Reputational benefits related to valuation of social responsibility -Increased organizational stability
Embracing diverse workplaces is increasingly important in light of demographic shifts as milli…

10 Inspirational Figures

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In continuing to honor National Disability Employment Awareness month, here is a list of inspirational figures throughout history who have not only overcome limits put on them by convention, but became leaders in their field!  
This list, compiled by Family Home Pro, highlights 10 people who didn’t let their disability define them.  
We are lucky to be working in a field where we are surrounded by success stories!


The Ten Most Inspirational Disabled Person Success Stories News

Many people who have a disability don't let it prevent them from leading full and rich lives, indeed some are an inspiration to both disabled and non-disabled people alike. Below is a list of disabled people who have achieved outstanding success despite their disability.
1. Stephen Hawking is probably one of the world's best known high achievers with a disability. He's an internationally renowned physicist / mathematician who suffers from Motor Neuron Disease. At 35 he was Cambridge's first Gravi…

Counselors Needed in VA Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth Area

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URGENT NEED- Counselor / Brain Injury Focus - Southside Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth- The Choice Group Do you have education or experience in human services and counseling?  You must reside in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, or Portsmouth areas due to the job requirements and reimbursements?  Put your skills and passions to work helping individuals with disabilities, with a focus on brain injuries, achieve independence.  This is not an office job.  Exact hours will depend on your clients' needs.  You must have a valid driver’s license, dependable transportation, ability to plan your day and then shift gears, if necessary, to accommodate last-minute developments.  This is initially a part time job for approximately 20 hours per week, but could lead to a full time position depending on your qualifications.

Application Process:Please email resume and cover letter as Word attachments toresume@thechoicegroup.com , indicating "VC - BI" in the subject lin…

Monday Inspiration

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It has been rainy and dreary all along the East Coast going on over a week now.  And, after all of the excitement over the bike race, the “slower pace” of these rainy days seems to be affecting Richmond citywide.  This article provides some much needed Monday Inspiration.  It is easy to keep a closed mind about yourself and the world around you and that’s what this article highlights as the biggest disability of all.  Believe in yourself and what we can accomplish as a community through inclusion of everyone.  
Here are some of the solutions the article offers:
UNCONVENTIONAL SOLUTION TO BIGGEST DISABILITY ON THE  PLANET
- Use digital technology to offer free mindfulness training - and practice support - to every person on the planet who can access the Internet.
- Prioritize delivery of training to all the caregivers of people with recognized disabilities - like mental illness or chronic conditions or developmental impairment. (There is already some research supporting the approach.) The…

Virginia Rehabilitation Association Golf Tournament

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Recently, the 16th Annual Virginia Rehabilitation Association Benjy Burnett Memorial Golf Tournament was held and we were so happy to have a team participating for such a great cause. Proceeds of this tournament go towards VRA's educational programs for rehabilitation professionals as well as services for people with disabilities.


Ayeisha Johnson, A Choice Group Success Story!

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Early in Ayeisha’s life, when first beginning a new career in New York City, she had big
responsibilities.  She was in charge of the printing department at a major company, using creativity and technical know how to problem solve solutions for those within her company.  She got things
done.

     Because of a stroke Ayeisha suffered in her twenties, she incurred a brain injury which caused Hemi-Paresis.  Hemi-Paresis left her without the use of the dominant side of her body, meaning that even simple tasks had to be re-learned.  After the brain injury, Ayeisha moved to Richmond to be closer to her family.

     When Pam first started working with Ayeisha, it seemed that office work would be her best fit
considering her previous responsibilities.  When starting employment at Feed More Inc. her
responsibilities included a lot of computer and phone work.

     “Sometimes it’s hard to place a person with a disability into clerical work, because it involves so
much, but [Ayeisha} is not …

The Disability Inclusion Movement Affects You

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At The Choice Group, we always strive for inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce. There are so many benefits gained by including diverse groups of people in this field, the studies are overwhelming.  Yet, there still seems to be a stigma held by employers on hiring a person with a disability.
This article by Shanna Belott really outlines how everyone is affected by this "sector of our population," and how we can change for the better!

Think the Disability Inclusion Movement Isn't About You? Think Again Twenty-five years ago, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), ushered in a new era of opportunity and expectation for people with disabilities. But this landmark legislation paved just the start of the civil rights struggle for those with disabilities, particularly developmental disabilities. The next phase of the battle is changing hearts and minds.  Sixty million Americans live with some form of disability, including disability acquired by aging. Tha…

The Amazing Race

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Dear Friends and Supporters of Community Brain Injury Services,
We have about 8 hours left in the Amazing Raise.  If you have not made a donation yet to support our services for survivors of brain injury, please consider taking a moment to do so.   The services we provide through our case management and Clubhouse programs provide hope, opportunity, and support for hundreds of survivors and their family members each year.   Yet, it is still not enough. Right now, over 70 survivors and families sit on our urgent waiting lists for our critical services. I would like to ask for you to step up right now and make a donation for our services through the Amazing Raise, so we can continue to serve the intense demand for our services as quickly as possible.  
Donating is really easy. Just click here:   Donate Now to support CBIS in The Amazing Raise Make your donation before 6pm today to support us in The Amazing Raise.
On behalf of Community Brain Injury Services, and the survivors of brain injury …

Technology and Innovation Increases Accessibility

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What is so amazing about this article and so any others that we’ve come across is exactly that, the quantity!  There are so many events that we hear about facilitating creativity and technology to help people with disabilities.  This article by Christina Farr is about finding solutions to everyday tasks that may prove challenging with the use of crutches or wheelchairs.  Technology can broaden the scope of ability and accessibility for people that rely on them, ultimately achieving more and more through innovation and colaboration.  

Techies and People With Disabilities Team Up for ‘Makeathon’ Corbett O’Toole wants to disrupt the wheelchair.
I met O’Toole, a disability rights advocate, last Friday at a bustling maker space in downtown San Francisco. TechShop, a do-it-yourself workshop crammed with tools and equipment, was hosting a 72-hour “makeathon” for teams to develop assistive technology alongside people with disabilities.
And O’Toole’s idea is to rig up a wheelchair that can…