|Skip to Content|
Friday April 15, 2011
With the help of JVS, Daniel Speights gains independence
Although many of his peers reside in group homes, Daniel Speights lives independently in an apartment with his girlfriend and works as a janitor.
Despite a developmental disability, Speights has made these huge strides with hard work and the assistance of Jewish Vocational Service.
When he first became involved with JVS programs about five years ago, Speights, a 24-year-old Winton Woods High School graduate, had trouble accepting on-the-job supervision. He also found himself easily distracted. Now, he’s conscientious and works with little supervision.
“He has come a long way,” says Yvonne Joe, his grandmother. “JVS has been instrumental.”
After high school, Speights was a dishwasher at a busy restaurant, then worked at a book warehouse. Neither job lasted long because he either socialized too much or found the work overwhelming.
Daniel then enrolled in a JVS program that teaches job skills, working for about four years on a crew cleaning the Powel Crosley Jr. YMCA in Springfield Township. With coaching, Speights learned how to do the job well.
About a year ago, it was time to seek a competitive job. Jeff Wesley, a JVS placement and retention supervisor, helped him decide which types of job he’d like and coached him through the job application process. Speights decided he wanted to pursue a cleaning job.
Wesley arranged for a job interview, and Speights was hired to help clean a Downtown Cincinnati office building five nights a week.
For the first few weeks, state funding subsidized his salary to give the employer an extra incentive to hire him. JVS provided a job coach for a month or so until Speights learned his new job.
Now, Wesley monitors Speights’ progress, but the JVS supervision he receives is minimal compared to what he received when he worked at the YMCA and when he first started his latest job.
He lives in a Forest Park apartment complex and takes a Metro bus to his job. He likes his two-bedroom apartment because it’s “peaceful.” He does some light cooking, washes his clothes and cleans the apartment.
Because he can hold a job, Speights not only has more independence and self-esteem, he also has choices, including what types of jobs he wants to pursue and what to do in his leisure time.
“He’s got interests, desires, hopes and dreams just like anyone,” Wesley says.
|Return to Top|