Representing Herself, Her Way, in the Digital Era: Rachael's PCSEPP Progress

By Sara Porcaro | Feb 23, 2021
PCSEPP, BHDDH, Employment, Opportunity, IDD, Disabilities, Rhode Island, ADA, Empower, Equality
PCSEPP Participant Rachael, working with Trudeau

A stray warm spell, and with it a bit of rain, has come to melt some of winter's chill in Rhode Island this February. Spring is on the way, and with it, a brighter time where the goals we make today can become accomplishments tomorrow. That's the case for many individuals participating in the Person Centered Supported Employment Performance Program (PCSEPP), as while they've been staying safe at home, they certainly haven't slowed down on building their skills and discovering the recipe for their success. One individual, Rachael, supported by the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center, has wasted no time in developing her skills, and she's looking forward to the year ahead as she continues through the program.
The PCSEPP program is funded by the RI Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH). Through it, individuals can work with any of the program's provider agencies--Perspectives, the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center, or AccessPoint RI--while getting the same access to the tools and resources provided by Skills for Rhode Island's Future, Able Opportunities, and the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMASS Boston. Whether virtually or in-person with strict safety protocols, experienced professionals are ready to support individuals in not only discovering their interests and talents, but also using technology to develop their own ways of representing themselves to potential employers, their own tools for staying productive on the job, and much more. One of those ways Rachael has been using technology is through short films on a variety of topics--everything from who she is to what she's interested in, and even videos about her father's karate studio, West Bay Martial Arts.
"I've made twenty-four films so far," Rachael says, "and I liked getting to make one about my dad's studio. It feels good to spread the word about it, because they have a lot of good classes for all kinds of people."
The video for West Bay Karate now lives on the studio's Facebook page, and Rachael is happy to see it reach others. Besides that and the other videos she's made, however, she's also done the important groundwork to prepare her for when she finds a job she loves: she's taken professional headshots, learned how to best maximize her strengths and work style, and taken stock of where her current experience can lead her. In high school, she completed work trials with Marshall's and Burlington Coat Factory, and she's also worked alongside her father catching quahogs in the local waters. With this experience in mind, she's been moving forward with her vision of the future, supported by Trudeau's Job Developer Danielle Iorfino along the way.
"Rachael's done well getting through a lot of obstacles, especially with the pandemic limiting in-person service," says Danielle, who worked with Rachael in traditional employment services before the program began. "The PCSEPP partner agencies have been really helpful in keeping the virtual part engaging and productive, and it's been great to learn more about Rachael throughout the process."
And for this duo, that meant learning all about Rachael's creative vision. On an average day, she enjoys baking, writing, listening to her favorite music, and passing the time with a bit of diamond painting. When it was safe to do so, she was also frequently out with friends and at the library to read all kinds of great books and get ideas for her own writing. When it comes to a career, Rachael knows that a creative place--one where she can help others by giving them advice and work at her own pace in a quiet and calm environment--is the perfect spot for her, and she's looking forward to not only earning her own money in the future, but going further to pursue the skills and passions she loves, as well as increase her independence in other ways.
"I want to take college classes in on writing and learn to drive," Rachael says. "Writing short stories and journaling is fun; it's a good way for me to express how I'm feeling. I want to learn more about it." On the PCSEPP program, she notes, "I'd recommend this program. I love the movie making, learning more about what's out there, and I like that it lets me use my skills; I'm looking forward to learning and doing more in the future."
"I love the movie making, learning more about what's out there, and I like that it lets me use my skills; I'm looking forward to learning and doing more in the future."
With that, Rachael is off to continue learning the many new ways of self expression, self advocacy, and other skills necessary not only to help her find her dream career, but to excel at the many goals she's set for herself. She's making sure to use the resources, knowledge, and other tools available to her, and she and Danielle make a great team, too. We're looking forward to seeing the ways Rachael moves on through the PCSEPP program, and we wish her the best of luck as the year goes on!


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