As a retiree I am fortunate to have the time to be a volunteer for The Office for the Disabled Advisory Board. My term as Chairperson has ended and Ray Leight has now been elected. Ray and I volunteer on Tuesday mornings with Mid Atlantic States Career and Training Center’s food bank and have a lot of conversations about its potential to provide a restaurant style service similar to Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen in Red Bank. We are only volunteers, not on their board, so we can only try to influence this. Ideas are easy, developing the concept and raising the funds and resources is more difficult. If this is an idea that can be developed, it will expand career opportunities.
I am on the board of Resources for Independent Living and I want to expand my volunteering with them to expand career opportunities for their clients. I am meeting with Jamie Cole, supervisor of programs today to determine how I can use my experience and skills to assist them. I think it is important for volunteers to realize that we need to fit into their programs and look for opportunities to add value. As I was working on my certifications to become a special education teacher and a school guidance counselor, I was in a supervised learning experience that had specific goals and experiences that I was expected to learn and staff members volunteered to help me develop those skills. It is great to pay it forward.
Looking forward, I am trying to become a volunteer with the Salem County Special Services School District. I have the certifications and experience to be of value, but once again, I need to find a way to discuss opportunities that allow me to fit in and add value. I have a strong interest in improving career opportunities for students and individuals that have a “disability” by focusing on abilities. I am looking forward to learning from those that I meet and have them learn from me.
If anyone has any thoughts on improving opportunities that lead to competitive employment, please feel free to make suggestions. If you are in a position to volunteer and add value in expanding employment opportunities and helping others develop their career capabilities, please give it a go.