Foundation presents scholarships/awards to deserving staff

Recently, the Rehabilitation Foundation’s annual Scholarships & Awards reception honored several staff members and departments with grants to fund their dreams and goals which will return to benefit the Agency.

Each year it’s a tall order to go through the requests and choose a person to receive each particular scholarship or award. For their conscientious deliberation in selecting the award winners and scholarship recipients, the Foundation thanks Jen Eaton Miller, Tracy Karl-Lebrenz, Lisa Hennig, Patrick and Gloria Carroll, and the scholarship committee. Continue reading…


Nursing is a joy for residential LPN

Nursing is a joy for residential LPN

Carolyn Lawson 005 photoshoppedCarolyn Lawson worked for Olean General Hospital for 19 years before coming to the ReHab Center four years ago.  She thought she loved her job at the hospital until she met the people she cares for at the three residences where she’s an LPN.

“I love my job,” she said, matter-of-factly.  “It’s actually a job I truly enjoy.  I found my niche.”

She began at Hinsdale and then Big 6 was added, and more recently Fall Road joined her already busy schedule.

While Carolyn is working closer to 60 hours a week rather than her regular 40 hours, she’s happy for the extra hours. She rises at 3:30 am to be at Fall Road by 5 am to give meds. Despite the early hour, she looks forward to her day ahead. Continue reading…


Employment Connection expresses gratitude to disability employers

baskets-for-employersAs long-term advocates of disability inclusion in the community’s work force, Employment Connection will participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month by commemorating the local businesses who employ people we support.

Initially, the Agency offered educational opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities through the Children’s Learning Center. Later, As the children grew into adulthood, the Agency began offering vocational and employment opportunities, which led to the Agency’s work centers, SubCon Industries in Olean and Salamanca.
About 20 years ago, the Agency realized the need to offer community employment. While recently the government has called for an end to sheltered work shops and an increase in community employment for people with disabilities, the Agency was already well ahead of those new mandates.

Photo:  Zack, Adam, Darcy, Tim, and Todd (standing behind  Darcy) joined to artfully assemble 25 baskets to deliver to their employers in gratitude for their jobs.

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Today, the Agency’s Employment Connection actively prepares people, and finds them in jobs in the community.
As much as it is Employment Connection’s forward-thinking, successful employment is clearly a shared achievement by local employers who took a chance on our people. They are the real heroes to those who are now employed. Without their faith in our people, many might not be living with the high levels of independence and quality of life they enjoy. The number of employers in the area who have hired people through Employment Connection is up to 25.

The Agency is deeply grateful to all of them, which include: SCS, Ponderosa, Holiday Inn, Allegany Country Transit / First Transit, ReHab Center residences at Fall Rd., Henley Rd. and Buffalo Rd., Aramark, Park and Shop, Mazza, Walmart, St. Bonaventure University, Best Western Hotels, Cattaraugus County DSS, Absolute Care, Head Start, Tops Friendly Markets, Healthcare Services at The Pines, St. Mary’s Church, Holiday Valley, City of Olean, Fred’s Contract Cleaning, Burger King, and Pete-As Ria.
This year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “#InclusionWorks, and highlights the value of a diverse workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

 


Allowing space to grow

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Jessica Martin, The Employment Connection’s Community Employment Specialist, supports people’s journey into community employment.

In her role, she is a combination of a job agent, coach and personal cheerleader, urging the people she supports to overcome hurdles to achieve their goals. Sometimes, that  may mean going with changes she doesn’t think are best for the person. But, Jessica feels her work as a Direct Support Professional is to encourage the person to make choices and learn from them. Sometimes they work out, sometimes not.  In this case, it worked out.

“If a job is what they want, I say, ‘Great, let’s get started.’ But, if they want to move on from the job, it’s all about what they want, and I just say, ‘Ok, let’s look for something else,” she said, adding about one particular case in which someone she helped get a job, wanted to leave and work elsewhere, a choice Jessica didn’t favor, but went with it anyway.

“Sometimes it’s tougher to go along with it,” she said. “It’s easy to think we know what’s best, but then they have to make their own choices and learn from them. In this case it turned out fine.”

As a good parent has to let their child experience the consequences of their choices, that’s also true for the people she supports.

She feels it’s important for a person’s self esteem and empowerment to grow from mistakes and learn to overcome their own challenges. Each one gives them the confidence to embrace another hurdle and with each success comes greater self-esteem.