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She’s considered the mother of disability rights — and she’s a ‘badass’

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Disability rights advocate Judy Heumann in Washington, where she has lived since 1993. (Shuran Huang/For The Washington Post) The following month, she published a memoir called “Being Heumann.” (She hadn’t known when the film would be released, so the timing was a coincidence.) Publishers Weekly hailed the book as “thoughtful and illuminating.” Then, just days before the world shut down, Heumann — who has made her home in D.C. since 1993 — joined Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show.” At one point in the interview, Noah called her a “badass” and asked her about the time, in 1972, when she “decided to shut New York down” with a disability rights protest. In the midst of their friendly exchange, however, Noah made a reference to “able-bodied” people — and Heumann doesn’t like that term. “I call you ‘non-disabled,’ ” she said with a smile, “because the likelihood of you acquiring a disability, temporarily or permanently, is statistically very high.” A slightly dazed look crossed Noah’s face. “D

Yessenia Brings Smiles During The Holidays

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Yessenia Tapia began services with The Choice Group in the early 2020 to complete situational assessments. Through these assessments, Yessenia determined that she’d like to pursue a job in a retail environment. Yessenia then began working with her Vocational Counselor, Gabby, to search for jobs that met her preferences. This was a difficult time because it was directly in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and many employers were limiting their hiring and/or still enduring lay offs. Above all of that, it was going to be Yessenia’s first job.  Yessenia worked hard applying to various retail employers. With the support of her Vocational Counselor, Gabby, helping her to develop and prepare for interviews, she was able to successfully obtain employment with the Burlington in Hancock Village in Chesterfield as a part-time store associate. Yessenia began this position in October and worked with her Vocational Counselor on learning her assigned tasks including store markdowns, recovery, and

Gaining confidence through workplace experience

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Katherine E. has been working with Camryn Overton through our supported employment program since March of 2018. She recently helped him secure a job at Harris Teeter in August of 2020. Camryn took steps to determine which jobs to apply for including situational assessments, consideration of location and transportation, consideration of positions that allowed some scheduling flexibility, and a lot of follow up with managers. Using personal strengths such as being eager to get the job done and being friendly and helpful with customers helped Camryn gain employment. Camryn faced some obstacles — he does not like germs and has difficulty when touching things such as other’s pens, door knobs, shaking hands, etc. He also has had difficulty speaking at an audible volume. However, since starting his position, Camryn greets every customer as they enter and leave the store. Retrieving carts is the bulk of his job and he has not hesitated to touch the carts or anything else. Not only did Camryn r

Peter Mance Jr.'s PBS debut

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  Justin Cordin met Peter Mance Jr. ,family-centered outdoor and traveling enthusiast on February 2020. Cordin introduced Mance to various interviewing techniques to help him communicate with HR professionals which could determine prospective jobs he would apply for. Mance brought to the table an array of personal strengths such as determination, ambition and a fearless personality which contributed to his success. This meant Cordin had a great canvas to work with! He helped Mance find ways to favorably package and present past work experiences (including working as an on-camera TV host, production and some filming) to future employers. For example, Mance and his mom created and run a T.V. series and Cordin together with Mance reviewed ways to pitch the idea as a series to T.V. executives. Since their meeting, Mance has improved in leaps and bounds. It is evident in his newfound confidence when engaging in dialogue. He was previously reticent and nervous when speaking. While

Jessica continues to soar!

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  In January 2020, The Choice Group introduced you to Jessica, an individual with a passion for counseling and a drive for overcoming barriers. Jessica has continued working in her human services position throughout the last year and endured many changes and challenges as office procedures and practices changed for the COVID-19 pandemic. She quickly adapted and has maintained her status as an important member of her agency. Jessica is steadfast in her pursuit of becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor and as of September 23, 2020 has been approved by the Virginia Department of Health Professions to begin her residency program! Additionally, she has accepted employment with a private practice in the Richmond area providing counseling services. She looks forward to building her counseling skills, continuing to increase her independence, and achieving her next big goal – home ownership. All hats are off to Jessica who continues to be an advocate for herself and for others to obtain