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Disabled Students to Envision Future Careers During Territorywide Event

Oct. 17, 2006 — With October designated as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the nonprofit agency Work-Able Inc. wants the territory's disabled students to get a glimpse into the world of work during Take Your Youth to Work Week.
"This year we are trying to get parents involved," Work-Able Director Gwendolyn Powell said.
She said the event encourages parents to take their disabled children to work. She said that the youths will not only be able to learn about their parents' jobs, but about those of their co-workers as well.
Powell said that previously, the event worked more like a mentoring program, rather than including the parents.
Powell said that disabled students don't often participate in the Education Department's job-shadowing program held annually in February.
She said the October event gives disabled students a chance to explore their interests and learn what type of education is required to get those jobs.
"It's important for all our youths to explore what's happening in work today," Powell said.
The organization has set aside Wednesday for the event on St. Thomas and Thursday on St. Croix.
She said parents who are not able to bring their disabled children to work on those two days have until the end of the month to do so.
Powell said that disabilities can range from the more obvious mobility issues to deafness and blindness, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, mental illness, and behavioral problems — even disadvantages in the home.
"There are a lot of invisible disabilities," she said.
So far, four youths from Eudora Kean High School and four from Bertha C. Boschulte Junior High School, both located on St. Thomas, will be participating, along with their parents.
Powell said she understands that 15 Educational Complex students and their parents plan to participate on St. Croix.
For more information on St. Thomas, call 774-5899; on St. Croix, call 778-6862.
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