In high school Shelby, a young woman with asthma and emphysema, dreamed of working in the cosmetology field when she graduated. She became connected with Disability Network Southwest Michigan through her participation in a summer employment program just before her senior year in high school. Shelby’s summer work experience was with the Department of Natural Resources where Disability Network staff provided Shelby with job coaching supports onsite. During that time, she also attended weekly educational classes where staff facilitated activities focused on soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and professionalism. Shelby also attended community tours, listened to guest speakers and completed practical exercises such as filling out job applications and conducting mock interviews.
Following her summer employment, Shelby received one-on-one support from Disability Network staff during her senior year including career planning, brainstorming education options, budgeting practice, and planning for a move into independent housing. To assist Shelby with her goal of working in a cosmetology setting, staff took her on a tour of Douglas J Aveda Institute (a cosmetology school) in Grand Rapids where a meeting with admissions and financial aid staff occurred. Disability Network staff helped to facilitate communication with the Institute’s financial aid staff for completion of paperwork for potential financial assistance.
Shelby is now living independently in her own apartment. She was accepted at the cosmetology school and is employed full time at Meijer until classes start.
Investing in Disability
Disability Network Southwest Michigan needs your support to help us continue to make dreams come true for young women like Shelby. When we invest in disability, the entire community benefits. Join Disability Network Southwest Michigan in creating a diverse and inclusive community by investing in people with disabilities. We cannot do this important work without your support. Please consider a donation to Disability Network today.