For my Developmental Disabilities class this semester, our final project requires us to participate in a Vanderbilt disability organization, program, service, or clinic on campus for at least four hours, and then share our observations with the class during a final presentation. My friends Shilpa and Sara are also in the class, and we decided to go to the same site: Project Opportunity!
Project Opportunity is a program through the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt that provides job training and educational, developmental, and employment opportunities within Vanderbilt for individuals with disabilities. Individuals in Project Opportunity are provided job readiness training, job coaching throughout their training and while they work at Vanderbilt, travel training (such as using public transportation), help with resume-writing and the job application process, and other general skills needed to be successful in the workplace. The program also follows through with its graduates as long as they are employed at Vanderbilt, and provides a lot of support and encouragement for graduates.
On Monday afternoon, Sara, Shilpa and I got to meet about 10 of the Project Opportunity Interns and graduates–we gave them a tour of campus, took some fun pictures, and played a game in Last Drop to get to know each other. It was great to get to know the participants in the program and they loved getting to explore a part of Vanderbilt that they don’t usually see every day. Sara, Shilpa, and I are so excited to get more involved with this great program that most people don’t know about! We feel like we’ve found a hidden gem in the Vanderbilt community. Our developmental disabilities class focuses a lot on how individuals with disabilities can struggle with employment and relationships with other people, and Project Opportunity focuses directly on that issue–making it a perfect choice for our final project!