Project SEARCH interns are busy learning employability skills in this last internship at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. They are applying for jobs and hope to have some good news to share when they graduate June 1st. Check out the PowerPoint presentations, Kim, Chris and Reid (click below) created to showcase all they have learned and achieved during this third internship. Interns confidently present these slideshows to staff from LARC, DDS and CHH.
Project SEARCH Interns form friendships with each other and the welcoming staff at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.
September / October: CPR training, Halloween, Interns at work
A New Year for Project SEARCH
LARC’s Project SEARCH is back at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH) for a third program year with a new group of exceptional young adults.
The Project SEARCH program provides classes in employability skills, independent living skills and internship experience for young adults with disabilities. The goal is to obtain competitive employment upon completion in June. Project SEARCH Coordinator and Special Educator, Kathy Riberdy, and Ellen Kirsch, Skills Trainer, are joined by interns, Kim, Chris, and Reid. Kathy stated, “These new interns are motivated and working hard during their month-long Orientation.” The group is focusing on team building, employability skills, visiting departments and navigating around the hospital.
Interns have worked on skills such as filing alphabetical order, reading expiration dates, re-packaging masks, folding tri-fold brochures, and portioning food. The team appreciates CHH staff volunteering their time to provide expert training in CPR basics, interview skills, healthy food preparation, and building stamina. Project SEARCH is fortunate to work with host liaisons, Shelli Rhoads and Pam Tino, who give their time and support to this meaningful program.
LARC’s Executive Director, Michael Menard, and Marianne Sedgwick, LARC’s Vocational Coordinator, recently visited for lunch to get to know the new interns. The team will be ready to start interning in October in Nutritional Services, Storeroom, Environmental Services, Human Resources, and Cardiac Rehabilitation. Chris stated, “I’m excited to do the Storeroom like finding where everything goes on the shelves. I’m excited to meet new people and new experiences.”
Reid shared, “I’m looking forward to working in the cafeteria.” Kim is “looking forward to working in Cardiac Rehab and Human Resources. I learned CPR basics which was new to me”.
Congratulations to LARC’s Project SEARCH graduates, Liam, Joshua, Aaron, and Sierra! Thank you, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, for the partnership and generously providing a memorable send off. These exceptional young adults showed up in September ready to learn, work and access all this program has to offer. Interns grew in skills, confidence, and were all successful. During the ceremony, the team confidently shared, “What Project SEARCH has meant to me.” They felt the love and support of the 60 attendees, which included family, friends, LARC staff, DDS representatives, and CHH staff. Project SEARCH truly appreciated the mentorship and support from the departments that welcomed them into their teams: Nutritional Services, Podiatry, Cardiology, Storeroom, Ear Nose and Throat, Cardiac Rehab, Human Resources and Wheelchair Transport. Sierra will be starting her part-time position as an Office Assistant in Podiatry at the hospital, utilizing her skill of patient appointment reminder phone calls, and learning EPIC. Aaron will be implementing learned skills in his new part-time position at Keystone Place, Torrington, working in the kitchen and housekeeping. We know the future looks bright for these incredible stars!
What Project SEARCH Means to Me
Our interns recently created testimonial videos with their personal response to the question, "What does Project SEARCH mean to you?" View their answers here:
Project Search Welcomes New Interns
Project SEARCH is happy to be back for our second year at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. LARC’s Project SEARCH program provides classes in employability skills, independent living skills and internship experience for young adults with disabilities. LARC’s partner, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, has welcomed us back and is ready to host interns in various departments including Nutritional Services, Podiatry Department, Environment Services/Housekeeping and the Storeroom. We have 4 new excited interns for our 2021-2022 program year. Interns Aaron, Josh, Liam and Sierra are joining Special Educator/Coordinator, Kathy Riberdy, and Skills Trainer, Ellen Kirsch. The team is fortunate to be joined by Ellen, who has 19 years of experience at LARC. Ellen shared, “I’m very excited to join the team. I look forward to watching our interns learn and grow”. LARC’s Vocational Coordinator, Marianne Sedgwick, has joined the team as Supervisor and will assist with interns gaining competitive employment upon completion. LARC’s vocational team, along with Deb Aleksinas, successfully placed last year’s interns, Owen and Stephen into employment which utilizes skills learned in the program. “We have a great group of young adults who are ready to learn, work and be a part of the hospital community. The CHH staff is accommodating and very supportive of our program. We appreciate the dedication of our host liaisons, Shelli Rhoads and Pam Tino. We are looking forward to receiving training from experts in CPR, wheelchair transport and “turning over” rooms” stated Kathy Riberdy. Interns have had a productive week and shared what they are looking forward to this program year. Josh “It’s going to great to try housekeeping and food prep”. Aaron “It’s going to be great to do Environmental Services, cleaning machines and stocking shelves”. Liam “I am going to do good in the cafeteria. I will learn how to cut vegetables.” Sierra “I am excited to meet new people”.
Graduation Celebration 12-22-2020
December 22, 2020 was the perfect day for a car parade to honor interns, Owen Reidy & Stephen Smith, on graduating from Project SEARCH. They successfully completed the program while learning employability skills, independent living skills & participated in internships at CHH. Executive Director of LARC, Michael Menard, and CHH VP, Brian Mattiello, presented diplomas, gifts & congratulations to Owen and Stephen. Enthusiastic well wishers drove by in decorated cars, honking & cheering. Stephen summed up the experience by saying “This was the best day of my life!” These interns are ready for employment!
Project SEARCH is back in person! In October, we resumed our program at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. After many months of on-line classroom instruction, interns, Stephen and Owen, are excited to get back to work in person. We are following COVID-19 safety protocol and getting screened daily with temperature checks and answering screening questions. Stephen is interning in Podiatry and working on sanitizing rooms, escorting patients, providing wheelchair transport and re-stocking supplies. Owen is interning at Cardiac Rehabilitation in the Winsted Health Center. Owen is busy sanitizing exercise equipment, folding towels, organizing supplies and collating papers. Owen is also learning how to use a blood pressure cuff and apply heart rate monitors on patients. Our department mentors and staff at CHH are welcoming and appreciate all of our interns hard work. LARC Executive Director, Michael Menard, visited for lunch and caught up with the team. Stephen and Owen presented slide shows to demonstrate the tasks they are learning in their new departments. Special Educator and PS Coordinator, Kathy Riberdy, is hoping to add two new interns in November. Best of luck to Project SEARCH!
Family Hearing Day at the Capitol - 2/26/20
LARC’s Project Search Team was at the 7th Annual Arc Connecticut/IDD Caucus Family Hearing Day at the Capitol in Hartford on February 26. Thirty legislators attended the hearing which attracted over 200 people, 36 of whom shared personal experiences of the challenges facing individuals with I/DD or families caring for loved ones. Two of the Project Search program participants met Jordan Scheff, Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services. “It was very powerful testimony,” noted Kathy Riberdy, Project Search coordinator and special educator. “This was a good experience for the team.” LARC has been working with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital to develop the model for this new program, which began this past fall. Project SEARCH provides classes in employability skills, independent living skills and internship experience to individuals with disabilities who are between the age of 18 to 35. LARC’s partner, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, is providing internships in various departments such as Cardiovascular Medicine and Nutritional Services. The Connecticut Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is collaborating with national Project SEARCH as part of its commitment to helping people with intellectual disabilities find, get and keep community-based, competitive wage jobs, a commitment LARC shares. In early 2018, LARC was chosen to be one of ten agencies nationwide to participate in the National ARC’s pilot grant program with Boston University’s Institute for Community Inclusion’s Provider Transition Network. The purpose of the program is to assist in the process of provider transformation towards competitive integrated employment. LARC’s goal is to educate staff on the processes needed to provide competitive integrated employment to individuals in the agency’s current group supported employment programs.
LARC is pleased to announce that Project SEARCH is officially launched and off to a great start! LARC’s new program provides classes in employability skills, independent living skills and internship experience to individuals with disabilities who are between the age of 18 to 35. LARC has partnered with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital to provide internships in various departments such as Cardiovascular Medicine and Nutritional Services. Our interns are learning many valuable employability skills already. Thank you to CHH for hosting this innovative and successful program! During the past year, LARC has been working with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital to develop a model for the new program, which began this past fall. The Project SEARCH program is designed to be a one-year program and is based on a school year. Participating individuals are working this year at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in internship positions with the goal of securing employment at the end of the year. “This is an exciting opportunity for LARC,” according to Michael Menard, executive director at LARC. “The agency, with leadership from our vocational and day service director Tom Stanton, has been aggressively working to transform our Vocational program to align with changing requirements and community needs. Individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities are capable of working competitively and deserve to be paid a competitive wage,” Mr. Menard explained. The Connecticut Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is collaborating with national Project SEARCH as part of its commitment to helping people with intellectual disabilities find, get and keep community-based, competitive wage jobs, a commitment LARC shares. In early 2018, LARC was chosen to be one of ten agencies nationwide to participate in the National ARC’s pilot grant program with Boston University’s Institute for Community Inclusion’s Provider Transition Network. The purpose of the program is to assist in the process of provider transformation towards competitive integrated employment. LARC’s goal is to educate staff on the processes needed to provide competitive integrated employment to individuals in the agency’s current group supported employment programs.