Enhancing Employment Success: Building Professional and Social Connections

Date: 04-05-2024 | Category: Blog,Success Story | Reading Time: 3 Minutes

In a bid to empower individuals in the Cincinnati area, JVS Careers has launched an innovative Peer-to-Peer initiative titled the Extra Ordinary P.E.E.P.P.S. (Persons Empowering Each other (towards) Personal and Professional Success) Group. This program aims to support essential skills through dynamic activities, catering to those who are neurodivergent or have disabilities. Through a series of engaging events, participants have the opportunity to develop crucial communication and socialization skills vital for their professional growth.

What began as small-scale community engagements with just a few individuals has rapidly evolved. On January 3rd, a diverse group of twenty-three people, comprising clients of JVS Careers, their family members, and staff, came together to explore the Cincinnati Zoo’s Festival of Lights. As JVS Careers expands its services to a wider audience, we now extend invitations to all individuals we serve, resulting in a significant increase in participation from 3 to 19 members within the last three months.

The term “Neurodivergent,” as defined by the Cleveland Clinic, refers to individuals whose brain development or function differs from the norm. Chrissy Perkins, Disability Services Program Manager and Career Coach at JVS Careers, underscores the importance of social networks in fostering a supportive community. She emphasizes, “Incorporating a social network for individuals who are neurodivergent and clients with disabilities is essential. These connections not only enrich their lives but also play a pivotal role in sustaining employment, fostering a sense of fulfillment, sharing experiences, and providing invaluable peer support during challenging times.”

Effective employment hinges not only on professional competence but also on adept interpersonal skills, particularly in building and maintaining relationships within the workplace. For individuals who are neurodiverse, navigating communication hurdles can prove daunting, often impeding their effectiveness in collaborative settings. This challenge can lead to feelings of isolation and inadequacy, further exacerbating the difficulties they face in the workplace.

By prioritizing activities that promote relationship-building, JVS Careers aims to equip participants with the necessary social skills, strengthening their support networks, enhancing communication proficiency, and ultimately boosting their confidence and self-esteem. Every individual, regardless of their abilities, deserves the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life and forge meaningful connections. Yet, many individuals who have a disability or are neurodiverse find themselves struggling with social isolation and a lack of guidance in developing lasting relationships beyond the confines of structured environments like school.

The testimonials of our participants speak volumes. One member expressed gratitude, saying, “Attending this group has been transformative. I haven’t interacted with anyone outside my family circle for over two years.” Our social networking program provides a welcoming environment for individuals to connect authentically, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Through community outings, such as sports events, movie nights, and trivia, we strive to create opportunities for shared experiences and meaningful interactions.

If you or someone you know would benefit from joining our Extra Ordinary PEEPPS Group, we encourage you to reach out to Chrissy Perkins for further information at [email protected].

Your support can help us sustain and expand initiatives like these, making a tangible difference in the lives of individuals striving for inclusivity and empowerment. Ready to contribute? Click the link below to make a meaningful donation and support our ongoing efforts.