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Devereux MA/RI students earn internship with Fitchburg Fire Department


Two Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island students recently earned internships with the Fitchburg Fire Department. Michael (pictured above) says he is looking forward to practicing skills such as “cooking, filing and talking to new people.”

The two students submitted job applications and resumes, and then Fitchburg Fire Chief Anthony Marrama invited them to the fire department for interviews. Jaysus (pictured above) says he is ready to begin his internship with the fire department, “making the floors shiny and cleaning the fire trucks.”

When Michael and Jaysus, who both receive services through Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Massachusetts and Rhode Island, learned they would be interning with the Fitchburg Fire Department they were excited about the opportunity to gain new skills and build upon their existing strengths.

The young men are enrolled in Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s Center for Autism Resources and Education Services (CARES), a day school that provides primary, elementary and secondary education services for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.

Jaysus says he is ready to begin his internship with the fire department, “making the floors shiny, cleaning the fire trucks and learning new skills,” while Michael says he is looking forward to practicing skills such as “cooking, filing and talking to new people.”

Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Executive Director Kerry Ann Goldsmith expressed her gratitude to the fire department and Fitchburg Fire Chief Anthony Marrama for providing students with this unique vocational opportunity. “Our students will gain valuable, real-world experience interning with the fire department, developing their skills and confidence,” Goldsmith noted. “This is what our work is all about – helping the individuals we serve thrive and succeed in life.”

Taking pride in preparation

Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Special Education Teacher Nicole Thibeault guided Michael and Jaysus through the internship application process.

“Michael and Jaysus submitted job applications and resumes, and then Chief Marrama invited them to the fire department for interviews,” Thibeault explained. “I helped the students prepare for their interviews by asking them to write down five questions they wanted to ask the chief. Their questions revolved around the dress code, job responsibilities, workplace policies and job expectations. Michael and Jaysus practiced asking these questions, and answering questions about their employment history, personal preferences and strengths. They took a great deal of pride in their preparation – and nailed the interviews!”

Chief Marrama shared, “I was extremely impressed with both Jaysus and Michael throughout the entire process. From their resumes, to their interview skills, to their enthusiasm for work, you could tell how excited and prepared they were for this new challenge. This is not only a credit to their hard work over the past few years, but also an acknowledgment of the teaching skills and dedication of Devereux staff.”

Acquiring skills; setting goals

During their internship, Michael and Jaysus will be assigned various cleaning tasks, filing and clerical duties, as well as yardwork. In addition, they will be introduced to new tasks that play an integral role in fire department operations, such as equipment cleaning and checks, apparatus checks and hose rolling.

“We hope that by slowly introducing the students to these new skills and tasks, they can add them to their growing list of abilities; gain confidence in learning new things, and last, but certainly not least, have some fun along the way,” Chief Marrama said. “We see ourselves as part of the community, and anything we can do to foster growth for members of our community is important. We enter into this profession to help people – it is the core of what we do. This is mostly seen in the various emergency responses we provide, but another large part of that is taking advantage of opportunities to partner with organizations like Devereux to serve in other ways.”

Jaysus and Michael know this internship will help prepare them for whatever the future holds.

“I am hoping to work at a bicycle shop and fix bicycles,” Jaysus noted.

As for Michael: “I plan to join the fire department – once I have the appropriate training,” he said.

Learn more about Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s CARES school, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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