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Helping High School Students Prepare For The Real World Through Project SEARCH

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The Choice Group works collaboratively with DARS, local school districts, and area hospitals to provide students ages 18-22 with a unique post-secondary job-training experience. The end-goal of the program is quite simple… competitive employment in the community. Although the program was virtual at the start of COVID, Ericka Neville, manager of Hampton Roads, was able to re-open this past Spring while observing all COVID-19 guidelines.  Over the course of a typical school year, each participant is afforded the opportunity to complete three ten-week internships in a variety of settings across the hospital. By gaining these real-world work experiences and transferable skills, the interns are equipped with the tools necessary to be successful and valuable employees in a competitive job market. The goal for each high school student participant is competitive employment. To reach that goal, the program provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independen

Counselor Highlight: Shadi Zadeh

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We have dedicated over 20 years to helping our clients find meaningful employment as part of a full and enriching lifestyle. It has been a pleasure to serve thousands of clients in our time as counselors and it is an honor to share in their achievements. As we start to experience a new phase of the Coronavirus pandemic, the counselors of The Choice Group in Northern Virginia continue to show up for their community.  Enthusiastic about The Choice Group's mission of making a commitment to excellence in meeting our client's needs--Shadi Zadeh has been known to go above and beyond for her clients. Pre-COVID it was common for her to meet multiple times in-person to help prepare for job interviews. Zadeh has since made the pivot to mostly virtual and has found strategic ways to help her clients find jobs, walk them through submitting applications and doing mock interviews to prepare for the big day. In her role as a counselor she makes sure to train her clients on using technology as

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