Achieving independence through Devereux New Jersey’s community employment program
When Isaac Hammond sets a goal for himself, all those around the 34-year-old know it is only a matter of time before he will achieve success.
Hammond is enrolled in Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health New Jersey’s community employment program, which connects adults living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences with potential employers, as well as volunteer and community engagement opportunities.
This fall, Hammond, who works 16 hours per week as a cook at KFC, celebrated his two-year anniversary of continuous employment.
“It’s a hard job, but I can handle it,” said Hammond, who was promoted to his current position within his first six months of employment. “I cook chicken tenders and fillets, macaroni and cheese, hot wings and French fries. I like my job because my co-workers and supervisors care about me and are nice.”
A grandmother’s influence
Hammond began receiving services through Devereux New Jersey in 2008 after his grandmother, who had been caring for him and his sister, passed away. Hammond credits his grandmother with helping to teach him valuable life skills.
“I know my grandmother is my guardian angel and will always watch over me to make sure I do the right thing; work hard at my job; keep up with my cooking and cleaning; and manage my money,” Hammond shared. “I am very grateful for the influence of my grandmother in everything she taught me.”
Celebrating personal achievements
Hammond currently resides in a Devereux New Jersey community-based apartment with two roommates. When he is not working, some of his favorite activities include preparing nutritious meals, exercising, playing video games, bowling, swimming and camping.
Hammond is grateful to Devereux New Jersey staff for helping him achieve independence.
“Devereux watches over me and helps me stay on the right path,” Hammond noted. “I’m doing well and staying focused. Sometimes, life is stressful, but I’m learning how to handle it. I meditate and use my coping skills.”
Hammond hopes to eventually go to college for culinary arts and/or computer science, and have his own living space, but in the meantime, he is living in the moment – proud of all he has accomplished.
“Every morning, when I am on my way to work, I tell myself: ‘Way to go, Isaac! This is a wonderful life you have. Live it well, live it fully,’” Isaac shared. “I embrace each day, and am very grateful I have a good job, a nice home to live in and amazing Devereux staff to support me. The staff at Devereux and KFC are part of my family now.”
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