Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Devante Walker

Devante Walker has been working with Rachel from The Choice Group since August of 2014. He participated in the Project SEARCH program, completing 3, 10-week internships at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where he gained essential work experience and skills to obtain future employment. During his time with Project SEARCH, it was clear that Devante excelled in customer service. In learning this, Rachel and Devante began looking for jobs where he could use his customer services skills and interact with people, which he loves to do. 

People are drawn to Devante’s outgoing personality. He has a great memory and can recognize people after meeting them just once!  So when Devante got the job as a part of the security crew at The Funny Bone, it was a perfect fit! He works up front as the customers line up to come in for a show. He checks bags, IDs and stamps hands. Devante also monitors the showroom as comedians are on stage. He is so loved by all his coworkers and guests that come in, and he is able to remember those who have come to the comedy club before. He is one of the first faces you see when entering The Funny Bone.

Devante uses a wheelchair to get around, so when he started training, it was difficult for him to navigate the showroom at first.  Once he got familiar with his work environment, he was able to navigate around - no problem! When first on the job, Rachel helped Devante learn his tasks, get familiar with the environment, and assisted in getting the accommodations needed to make the job accessible for him. She even helped him learn table numbers by creating a seating chart study guide! Devante is determined to continue to learn new skills and has very high expectations for himself. Rachel continues to support Devante through Follow Along services. She is available if any new training comes up, or he has any new tasks assigned he needs assistance with learning. 

One of his favorite parts of the job is meeting many of the comedians who have performed at The Funny Bone. He is such a well-loved employee and has been working there for over 3 years now - a great accomplishment! Devante has an awesome sense of humor and fits in perfectly at The Funny Bone. He loves hanging out with friends and also loves playing video games and watching sports.  

Monday, August 27, 2018

Counselor Feature: Caitlin Igoe

Caitlin has been a counselor with us at The Choice Group for four years this September serving New River Valley and Roanoke in the Southwest Region of Virginia.

Caitlin’s most memorable experience working for TCG was watching her first client transition from Community Support Services volunteering with a company to a paid employee who has been in the job for almost 4 years now.

She loves the diversity The Choice Group brings, the new people she meets and working with different employers in the area.

We are honored to have Caitlin as one of our counselors and look forward to many more years with her!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Counselor Feature: Ryan Page

Ryan has been a vocational counselor with The Choice Group going on two years. He serves the southwest region of Virginia and specializes in Community Support Services (CSS) providing services on an individual basis that focuses on developing strategies that improve quality of everyday life such as grocery shopping, transportation, laundry, and budgeting.

Ryan’s most memorable experience with TCG was assisting a client through a trip to Bethany Beach, Delaware at an event titled “Operation Seas the Day” that was supported by the local community.

Ryan loves helping his clients achieve their goals every day through his work with The Choice Group and we are lucky to have him as a counselor!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Why Roger Walks

I met Roger Brannon, retired Marine, in March 2018. On May 23, 2016, nine days after his 45 birthday, Roger was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).  Not the news he expected to be dealing with when planning life at 45 and beyond.  But it didn’t take this strong, brave Marine long to decide what he was going to do with his diagnosis. When the neurologist told Roger that he might have ALS, He researched ALS and was surprised by what he read. The first fact he found was that military veterans are twice as likely to get ALS. This hit home with him.

Roger shared with me that when he was in the Marine Corps he made it a point to stay out of the spotlight. He didn’t like to be in the spotlight. He would rather be working in the trenches alongside his fellow Marines. He always put the mission first and personal wellbeing second. But ALS has changed this. He wants to put himself and ALS in the spotlight. “Today, I want to get my story out there—I want ALS to be in the spotlight—I want it to get the recognition it deserves. I will not go into all of the numbers because I could talk all day, but this one is important to me. Twenty-five percent of the National ALS registry represents Veterans. I want people to know that—I want that number to be in the spotlight."

May was ALS Awareness month. One of Roger’s goals, as he is fighting ALS, is to raise awareness and drive more research to find a cure for this disease. I am trying to help Roger with this goal.   The Walk to Defeat ALS DC/Maryland/Virginia Chapter takes place on October 13, 2018, in Washington, DC.  Roger’s team Bursting Bomb would love to have as many walkers this year as possible.   Please consider signing up for the walk. It will be a fun day with a very worthwhile purpose.   Here is the link to check out- The time is now to defeat ALS!

Roger, his family and I, thank you very much for considering joining the team in support of Roger’s goal and all those affected by ALS.
Check out this link and meet Roger-

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Counselor Feature: Erin Lloyd

Erin has been a vocational counselor with The Choice Group for 5 years working out of the Southwest region of Virginia. Erin specializes in Ticket To Work (TTW) and Work Incentive Specialist Advocacy (WISA) clients helping those who receive disability benefits make informed decisions about employment and finding alternatives for ongoing supports. Erin loves helping people accomplish their goals and that is why she is a perfect fit here at The Choice Group.

Her most memorable experience was helping a client find their way back to a part-time job where they worked for several years before going into retirement. Erin enjoys working with clients at The Choice Group because it brings variety to the workplace every day.

Erin continues to be a great asset here at The Choice Group and we are lucky to have her on our team!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Counselor Feature: Brianna Leger

Brianna has been a counselor with The Choice Group starting in June of this year serving the Southwest region of Virginia. Brianna works with clients to help them make informed decisions about options for ongoing supports and employment through the Work Incentive Specialist Advocacy service. 

Although Brianna is a new addition to our team, she has fit in great with our other counselors. She enjoyed her time at orientation with her coworkers and looks forward to her growth within the company. 

Brianna has 6 years of experience working in job coaching and loves that every day brings someone and something new. 

We are excited to have Brianna on board and look forward to seeing her help clients change their lives!