What is STRIVE for Exceptional Excellence?
STRIVE for Exceptional Excellence is an Educational program for teenagers and adults with disabilities. The goal is use instructional strategies commonly implemented in special education programming; Instructional strategies that can also be found in many vocational rehabilitation training programs. These strategies expose members to everyday activities including social events. These social events are implemented to enhance their ability to network. Social events are held in local venues giving members a chance to voice their concerns/ and or needs, build their confidence, and support other STRIVE members. Past gatherings have included luncheons, bowling, and visiting the theater. These events help members with building their confidence and solidifying their independence. Other supports include STRIVE for Exceptional Excellence Popups. These vocational rehabilitation activities are held annually and assist STRIVE members with job seeking. Volunteers at these events often include teachers conducting mock interviews, assisting with job application completion, and resume building. The hope is that by providing useful resources attendees will gain employment and retain it.
In 2020, STRIVE for Exceptional Excellence was impacted by Covid-19 like most businesses. Scheduled activities were cancelled due to their heavy reliance on face-to face contact. STRIVE members maintained contact via social media, but were unable to attend in-person events including vocational rehabilitation Popups.
Supporting Disabled Teens and Adults
In an effort to continue supporting disabled teens and adults in the community and beyond, STRIVE introduced the Exceptional Excellence Employment Application (APP). This digital platform features a simplistic user interface with great accessibility including voice to text and closed captioning. Customers can visit Apple’s App Store or Google Play to download the Exceptional Excellence App. After downloading the App users create their profile. The Profile page ask customers to list information about themselves. Information that is unique to each users and confidentially stored for their viewing only; The user’s profile page will also store previous job searches, favorite listings, resumes, and account settings. Users can also view mock interviews, search through job openings, and apply for employment right from their smart phone or tablet; If difficulties arise applicants are encouraged to sign up for consultative services listed on their in-App Calendar.
Special Education Teacher and Proud Parent of an Adult with Autism
A Note from the founder….
As a certified special education teacher and the proud parent of an adult with Autism, I understand the difficulties associated with seeking supports for disabled individuals. I witnessed frustrations experienced by students looking for summer jobs, as well as advocated for my son as he looked for a long-term career. What I Know for sure is that seeking employment can be a job in itself! And, advocating for oneself or on the behave of another makes looking for a job that much harder! I created STRIVE for Exceptional Excellence and the Exceptional Excellence Employment App to support a community that is often overlooked. A community of individuals classified as being disabled, but in reality are unique individuals with exceptional abilities. Exceptional learners that have the ability to out perform their “non-disabled peers”. Employers continue to document high attendance rates and great job performances as skills exhibited by their employees with disabilities. Many employers state that individuals with disabilities show up to work everyday giving it their all! I agree, my son is a testament to that statement. Like many individuals with disabilities, he loves his job! Taking a day off is a rarity. He has been employed at a children’s hospital in the state of Georgia for almost 10 years. I created STRIVE for Exceptional Excellence LLC and the Exceptional Excellence Employment App for individuals like my son. Reaching outside my classroom to support disabled individuals whose desire to work is inspiring!
STRIVE members include teenagers looking for summer jobs, single parents searching for ways to support their children, and older employees seeking a change. Nevertheless, all have one thing in common and that is to be independent. Im sure many will agree that being able to support oneself financially is the best feeling in the world! I can still remember how I felt when I received my first paycheck. Wow, that feeling of pride is like no other! Wouldn’t it be great if every individual, no matter their differences, experienced that feeling of pride? Being given the opportunity to STRIVE for Exceptional Excellence is important. As “non-disabled peers” let’s ask ourselves this question: Are my friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members with disabilities given the same job opportunities as me? Well, the truth is many disabled teens and adults will face hurdles and challenges. In fact, some will even be discriminated against. According to the US labor department, disabled adults make up a larger percentage of unemployed and underemployed individuals when compared to their “non- disabled peers”. If the solution is providing more resources, then let’s make sure that needed supports are available. Supports that embrace innovations that will build upon current systems or even replacing those that are clearly outdated. STRIVE for Exceptional Excellence LLC, GA will continue supporting disabled teenagers and adults living within the community. The educational program is dedicated to helping exceptional learners whose greatest desire is seeking employment. Employment that is tailored to their needs, thereby increasing their chances of retaining a job for an extended period of time. The Exceptional Excellence Employment App is also committed to increasing one’s chances of obtaining suitable employment. This Application is leading the way by pioneering a digital platform not previously used by disabled individuals searching for jobs. In-App features will change the way in-which digital employment seeking programs aid people with disabilities. Lets reinforce independence, support versatility, and encourage exceptional excellence by aiding job seekers with different abilities. With adequate resources they can and will STRIVE!
Together We Will STRIVE TOWARDS EXCEPTIONAL EXCELLENCE
S.T.R.I.V.E members will participate in social events used to reinforce independence. Events including Movie&A Meal, FormalDances, FamilyFun,and GameDays. These events will create opportunties for adults with disabilities to gather together within their community. The goal is to use socialization as the foundation to enhance life skills. Skills such as being able to communication their wants and needs, write a letter/or a resume’, make decision, budget, live independently, and obtain Information via technology. The hope is that by enhancing life skills, S.T.R.I.V.E members will solidify their independence.
Versatility is the ability to adapt to changes. Once an individual gets used to completing tasks in the exact someway each time, it becomes a challenge when circumstances require that changes be made. Studies show that individuals with disabilities find adapting to changes difficult. They often rely on routines taught by parents, teachers, and/or caregivers. Asking individuals with disabilities to make changes to learned routines can be challenging. S.T.R.I.V.E members will not only gather together once a month for social events, they will also participate in monthly meetings. At these monthly meetings, S.T.R.I.V.E members will get an opportunity to discuss their challenges. The purpose of the discussions is to provide members with supports, encouragement, and guidance from their peers.
STRIVING towards Exceptional Excellence is the ultimate goal of S.T.R.I.V.E-Socialize to Reinforce Independence, Versatility, and Exceptional Excellence. Excetional Excellence_A Different Kind of Greatness!