Taking Past Experience to Her Future Career Goals: Cece's PCSEPP Beginnings

By Sara Porcaro | Jan 26, 2021
PCSEPP, BHDDH, Employment, Opportunity, IDD, Disabilities, Rhode Island, ADA, Empower, Equality
Cece at Praise Tabernacle Dream Center

When it comes to a successful workplace--in any industry, among any departments--success requires team members with the skill, organization, and eye to detail necessary to keep everyone moving towards their goals. Right now, countless students, professionals, volunteers, and more hold those traits, whether they know it or not--and through the Person Centered Supported Employment Performance Program (PCSEPP), individuals in Rhode Island, like Cece, are learning to build upon their personalities, skills, and interests to discover their dream career. As the program continues on, Cece has teamed up with the talented professionals working in PCSEPP to discover where her strengths lie, and she's looking forward to the new year!
The PCSEPP program is one that takes a snapshot of an individual in their entirety--considering all the things that make them unique--and finding ways to bring their gifts into the community. Funded by the RI Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH), the program's team of organizations consists of Perspectives, the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center, and AccessPoint RI, in partnership with Skills for Rhode Island's Future, Able Opportunities, and the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMASS Boston. Dedicated professionals from all of these groups work in-person where necessary and virtually, as well, allowing individuals to make progress, take advantage of resources, and learn new technological skills and tools while staying safe and socially distanced. For Cece, who was volunteering at the Praise Tabernacle's Dream Center before the winter COVID-19 spike in Rhode Island, that safety is a big deal.
"I can't wait until the pandemic is over," she says. "I miss hugging my friends and going out like I used to."
It's a sentiment many of us share--but luckily, while she volunteered with her friends at the Dream Center, she gained valuable insights that she took with her into PCSEPP. For [x months], Cece has been hard at work packaging leftover food from local businesses for food insecure individuals across the state. She was introduced to the opportunity by Perspectives' Direct Support Professional (DSP) Sue Lizarda, who has long been a part of the Praise Tabernacle church and the Dream Center's efforts, and knew it would be a great opportunity for individuals she supports to let their talents shine while meeting new people. Cece, being a friendly, focused, and energetic person, is one of the many volunteers who have had a chance to grow their skills and work experience there, with DSP Charlene Howard there to support her in making community connections and having all around great, safe days out in the community.
"[Cece] is great at organizing the pantry and working as part of a team," says Charlene. "I think she'd be a great fit for a role in retail because she has a good eye for detail and works so well with others."
And discovering those talents has been crucial. In her PCSEPP experience, Cece has not only taken that valuable information with her, but also been working with Career Developer Casey Getchell to explore how who she is as a person can unlock new opportunities. Beyond being an upbeat and friendly person with a great attention to detail, she's also the kind of person that genuinely loves helping others--and who, before COVID-19, also loved to go to community spaces like the YMCA for Zumba, the bowling alley, the mall, and other places where she could surround herself with friends and let her bright energy shine through. Even now, as she's staying safe at home and engaging in the PCSEPP discovery process virtually, she's still making sure to get out into the fresh air while practicing social distancing, and she's continuing to build her confidence, working on self-advocacy in everyday situations like ordering her own food at restaurants.
"I'm hoping [with PCSEPP] that I can get a job because I want to be more independent," she says. "I want to make my own money and do the things I like to do. It feels good to work towards that."
"I want to make my own money and do the things I like to do. It feels good to work towards that."
Where we are today is certainly a different world than this time last year--and it's all changing again. As vaccination efforts continue, and as we get closer to returning to the lifestyles we love, Cece is pressing on and making sure she's prepared for the future, with talented professionals at her side to help her continue making progress towards her goals. We're excited for her, with all that she's learned and continues to do, and we wish her the best going forward!
If you or someone you know qualifies for this program, you can learn more by contacting the Perspectives Employment Services team; e-mail them at employmentservices@perspectivescorporation.com or call (401) 294-3990.


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