Orchard Village Academy helps young adults with disabilities transition from high school to competitive jobs, college enrollment, and more independent lives. Academy student Michelle created goals to increase her social skills, learn to advocate for herself, and prepare for a job in the community. Soon, she successfully completed internships at a local food pantry, a senior living community, Walgreens, Marshalls, and a local pizza restaurant. She especially enjoyed working with older adults and hopes to consider this line of work in the future
With Academy instructors’ guidance, Michelle created a resume, practiced interviewing techniques, and learned to use online job search engines and her social network to identify job postings best suited to her. Using these tools, she applied for jobs, went on interviews, and followed up with interviewers. She gained confidence each step of the way.
Michelle also volunteered at a "book bank" charity, a nonprofit that supports children with Down Syndrome, and Feed my Starving Children. She was completely committed to her academic work and community-based instruction, always determined to do her personal best. Michelle mastered her daily living tasks and budgeting and even made a four-course meal independently. She began finding her voice in group discussions and continually contributed her perspective, something previously hard to imagine.
Michelle interned at a local banquet facility, where she gained practical work experience. She was encouraged by Academy staff to apply for a competitive job there and she took it upon herself to ask the manager if they would hire her. After the interview was scheduled, Michelle practiced her interview skills with her Job Coach. During the actual interview, she was articulate and confident. She did not hesitate to state her expectations when asked about salary requirements. She was hired and received the hourly rate she requested! Michelle completed her 90-day trial period on the job, has received the Employee of the Month award several times, and gets continuous praise from her supervisors.
Michelle has also supported events at Orchard Village. She sold raffle tickets at Cocktail Hour event and proved to herself that she could be confident in large, loud spaces. She did a fantastic job and was proud of her accomplishment.
Michelle has grown so much since her first day at Orchard Academy. She continues to set new goals and achieve big milestones. She is determined! Her support team is so proud of Michelle and thrilled to stand with her on this path to success.