Exploring Jobs, Supports, and Self Advocacy


June 26, 2019

By Sue Savinsky

School may be out for summer, but learning continues at the Allen County Board of DD. Much of my job entails providing education and resources for transition-aged teens, along with facilitating self-advocacy, academic supports, community involvement, and helping others have a good life.

I just completed year two of Career Exploration Camp, which Allen County Board of DD hosts for students throughout the county who receive supports on an IEP. We had a great week! Five students attended camp, and they were able to identify their interests, needs, strengths, and preferences for future employment. During each day of camp, we met at the Lima Public Library and then toured a local business. We visited U.S. Plastic Corp., Petco, Lima Memorial Health System, Chief Market, and Old Barn Out Back. At each location, the students got to see different types of jobs, skills required, and working environments. Along with learning about jobs, the students were able to practice their social skills: introducing themselves, asking questions, and working together.

In addition to Career Exploration Camp, I facilitate Project STIR year-round. Project STIR is a two-day, self-advocacy training that stands for Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility. The focus of this training is to teach skills that help a person speak up for themselves assertively, whether it’s on the job, with their support staff, or in the community. The goal is to improve the lives of people with disabilities and embrace the values of self-advocacy and responsibility. The training is presented by people who have previously attended STIR. It consists of teamwork, videos, games, and skits. There are still spots available in our next training, July 23 and 24! The sessions will be in the evening, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Registration is required; please contact Sue Savinsky at 419-221-1385 ext. 2359 or ssavinsky@acbdd.org.

Earlier this year, as part of Multi Agency Partnerships (MAP*), Allen County Board of DD co-hosted a monthly educational series to help students and their families understand the supports available to them after high school. Preparing for life after high school can be a process, and finding the right resources, programs, and training can be a daunting task. The series replicated the SALT (School to Adult Life Transition) model, and topics included Social Security benefits, employment, advocacy, Medicaid, volunteering, and fun activities for the summer. SALT will resume in September – see our website or Facebook for location, time, and topics.

(*MAP is a group of agencies in Allen County working together to promote education and resources to help transition-aged children and their families.)

Editor’s Note: As you can see Ms. Sue has many activities she is responsible for; however, if you have any educational questions or needs, give her a call. She is a wealth of information and very pleasant to talk to with her contagious smile.