Securing meaningful employment: Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services student finds job success
Since he first began receiving services through Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Pennsylvania Children’s Services in 2013, Tim has been building skills for success.
In 2023, Tim, who is enrolled in the Devereux School for Integrated Learning, celebrated his one-year anniversary of employment, working as a customer service associate at a Wawa convenience store in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
“I work four hours per week,” said Tim. “I take care of the café island. I restock cups, lids, straws and sugar, and I wipe surfaces.”
Devereux School for Integrated Learning Education Director Susan Nice noted, “Tim is shining in his job at Wawa, and is putting the skills he has learned into practice. Every day, we strive to meet the unique needs of the individuals we serve, like Tim, building upon their strengths and interests to help them lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.”
Learning and thriving
Tim’s mother, Betsy Kealey, says her son, who struggled with emotional and behavioral challenges while attending public school, has flourished during his time at Devereux.
“Within a few weeks of transferring to Devereux, Timmy looked forward to going to school,” Mrs. Kealey shared. “Devereux’s support team helped me teach, guide and encourage my son, and he has grown into a very respectful, caring and hard-working young man.”
While attending the Devereux School for Integrated Learning, Tim has acquired valuable life, job and social skills.
“Timmy has learned how to follow directions; stock items on shelves; read words for Wawa, such as ‘coffee’ and ‘sugar;’ and greet people,” explained Devereux School for Integrated Learning Special Education Teacher Tracy Spencer. “Before securing his job, Timmy participated in the school’s Employment Training Program. He went to Wawa and other community training sites with his class where he practiced stocking items, wiping down the coffee area and taking out trash. Timmy is exceling in his job – he is responsible and independent. A job coach checks on him periodically to make sure he is doing OK, and we are in communication with his supervisor.”
Devereux School for Integrated Learning Employment Training and Transition Coordinator Ladislao Buljevich, M.A., said, “Each student’s transition plan is a multiyear process. Beginning with our Employment Training Center, we explore students’ employment interests and abilities. Once a student’s skill set has been developed, we pursue employment training opportunities on campus and continue with the person-centered future planning process. When an individual begins to achieve a greater level of independence, our transition team looks into community-based employment training, and eventually, competitive employment. Timmy has successfully navigated this entire process.”
Setting and achieving goals
Tim says his favorite part of working at Wawa is restocking the cups and talking to his co-workers.
As for his goals for the future? Tim stated, “I would like to continue working at Wawa and add more hours per week.”
Mrs. Kealey shared, “Timmy constantly surprises us with something awesome or does something we thought he could not do. I cannot thank all of the teachers, aides, therapists and administrators at Devereux enough who have put in so much time, effort, energy, and most of all, love.”
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