Showing posts from August, 2015

Chesapeake Regional Hospital Welcomes Project SEARCH Students

Last week, Peter F. Bastone, president and CEO, welcomed 12 students from Chesapeake during  a reception held in their honor to kick off  Project SEARCH. The students, along with their  parents and administrators from Chesapeake Public Schools, were present to celebrate the  partnership that provides students with  internships in various departments at CRH  throughout the school year. Students will rotate  jobs every 10 weeks. 

In Loving Memory of Mary Smith, a Dear Friend and Coworker

I am so sorry to inform all of you – our friends, clients and associates – that Mary Smith (formerly Mary Bertch) passed away Wednesday evening, August 26 th .   She had been fatally injured by a motorist involved in a high-speed police chase a day earlier. Some things that happen in life are unexplainable and this is certainly one of those things. Mary worked as an Administrative Assistant at The Choice Group for 9 years.  She was one of the hardest workers I have ever known, a cancer survivor, a proud parent of two children whom she dearly loved, and a compassionate and supportive presence for staff and clients alike at The Choice Group.    I know Mary had a good life despite many challenges she faced, and was looking forward to a bright future with her fiancĂ©. We will all miss Mary very much, and hold her family in our thoughts and prayers! Robin Metcalf, President

Join Our Team of Dedicated Counselors

Job Opportunity - Job Coach / Vocational Counselor   ( Many Regions in Virginia )  Do you have an interest, education or experience in human services?  Put your skills and passions to work helping individuals with disabilities achieve employment and independence.  This is not an office job.  Exact hours will depend on your clients' work hours.  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. Application Process: Please email resume and cover letter as Word attachments to, indicating "VC" in the subject line. The Choice Group retains submitted resumes and cover letters for 180 days, so candidates who have applied within that period need not reapply. Job Description: Provide supported employment, life skills training and related services to persons with disabilities.  At least a Bachelor degree i

Barriers to Employment

There are many ways to remove stigmas and eliminate barriers for the employment of people with disabilities.  Many people with disabilities actually avoid seeking employment in fear of losing their disability financial assistance.  The Choice Group has Benefit Counselors to help those seeking more independence through employment understand exactly what it means for their Medicare or Medicaid. Many of our clients have been able to find work while keeping the assistance they currently receive.  Not only do we make sure our clients get the financial assistance that they need, we provide ongoing support to make sure they continue to be successful in their jobs.  Whether you want part-time work, or want to eventually become a full-time financially independent employee, The Choice Group will help you find the path that’s best for you. This story is about a woman living in the U.K. with a learning disability, how she finally reached her goal of full-time employment, and what it to

Nicholas Barker

As an animal lover, Nicholas Barker has found a second home working at Petco.  When Dana, a counselor from The Choice Group, and Nick started working together to find employment, his two interests were animals and gaming. When Dana and Nick first started working together, they applied to Game Stop because he has an immense knowledge of many different games.  But, one of the main responsibilities of an employee there would be having to work the cash register and Nick had an aversion to that particular part of the job.  Having Asperger's, social interaction can sometimes be stressful for Nick.  Their next strategy was Petco.  Dana thought perhaps Nick could  find commonality with others through their love of pets.  Because he liked animals so much it seemed like a good fit— and it was!  He began to love the people who shared his passion.  At first, when meeting for an interview, he was very nervous and didn’t necessarily interview the best, but his love of pets was clear and tha

Bryan Snow

Bryan standing in front of his workstation Bryan Snow is 25 years old and has now been at his first job ever for a little less than a year.  October of 2015 will mark his one year anniversary at Virginia Elevator Controls.  The company builds the interior of elevators and ships them to national destinations.  Next time you’re in an elevator, it’s likely their name will be there.  Bry an is in charge of packing the product to ship and watching him work, he makes it seem like a breeze.  But, getting to this point was a process and a team effort including those of his counselor, Dana, at The Choice Group. Brian with Dana, his counselor from The Choice Group “No one would talk to him about a job,” said Dana, who’s been with The Choice Group for over a year now.  “We tried to ‘dress him up’” she air quoted when talking about getting him ready for the interview process.  She helped him apply to grocery stores at first, thinking that stocking the shelves and collecting carts

Starting a New School Year for Students with Disabilities

Just in time for school to start, we thought we'd share with educators some advice and requests from parents of children with disabilities.  Numbers 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 20 to be particularly inspiring! Article written by Melissa McGlensey from 22 Things Parents Want Special Educators to Know Before School Starts As back-to-school time draws near, we know parents have a lot on their minds (and to-do lists). Jumping into a new school year with a new special educator can be daunting for moms and dads. So  we asked our parent readers what they wanted their children’s special educators to know . Here’s what they had to say: 1. “Read the IEP and, as my special educator, please tell the inclusions teachers to read it, too. I do appreciate you… But I am still the parent and we need to be a team.” —  Doreen Duran 2. “A lways communicate with parents. We want to know everything going on — improvements, failures, what they’re doing, are they making friends… We

Darrell Recently Honored for a Job Well Done

One of our clients was honored recently in this wonderful news report! NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Angela's Story and Her Call to Action

A recent article on’s blog, written by Angela M. Hooker, was brought to our attention that highlights a lot of the points we’ve tried to make in our own blog posts.  We want to change perspectives of thinking what people with disabilities CAN’T do, to an inclusive attitude of what they CAN achieve.  We strive to end the misconception that job accommodations have to be expensive and inconvenient. Or, even that hiring a person with a disability means they’ll be somehow less productive or qualified for the job when there are abundant examples of the opposite.  She says: " Are we, through discrimination, fears and preconceptions, depriving our nation of the next Steve Wampler, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Hawking or Stephen Fry — all of whom have disabilities? Imagine our world without the art, skill and knowledge that they bring and contribute to our society. And there are even more dynamic and talented workers out there, and we should have the opportunity and pri

Finding the Perfect Fit

We strive on a daily basis to find jobs that are a perfect fit for our clients.  We search for jobs requiring skills that play to their strengths.  Many of our client’s talents and abilities are overlooked in the midst of their disability.  Often times people with disabilities don’t get hired because they don’t interview well despite their qualifications for the job which can range from organization and repetitive tasks to calculation to working with animals.   This article by Josh Teigen is about one particular job niche, a tech start-up, that plays to the strengths of individuals on the autism spectrum.  It reinforces The Choice Group’s beliefs that finding the right job can help individuals reach their full potential and help them lead more fulfilled lives through employment.   Why Every Tech Startup Could Use Someone With Autism The startup tech world is booming. A steady stream of technological developments that make our lives, businesses and world better hav