Chris Collins exemplifies what can be accomplished from hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude. Chris started working for Helpful Hands, Inc. in April 2021. He began work on a cleaning contract at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Lakewood, WA. Within a year of employment, Chris was promoted to an EVS 2, started working independently, and moved into his own apartment for the first time.
Loehl Kelley's employment journey demonstrates how passion can trump adversity in the pursuit of reaching your goals. Loehl's inner strength and confidence in his abilities kept him from giving up and allowed him to find a job where he is utilizing all his skills sets and is appreciated and respected.
As an advocate for herself and others, Katie wants people to know that “people with disabilities are just as ambitious, capable and hardworking as people without disabilities. We are also very flexible when things get thrown our way as we are used to figuring out new or different ways to accomplish things.” After a catastrophic spinal cord injury in a 2013 car accident, Katie had a long road to recovery. Now she is helping others in her new career.
SourceAmerica Productivity Engineers Remove Workplace Barriers
Agencies in the SourceAmerica nonprofit network have access to the organization’s Productivity Engineering team, which is devoted to positively changing the way people work. The team’s goal is to fix problems that create bottlenecks in the workplace which hamper the productivity of people with disabilities. This is exactly what they did at Middle Georgia Diversified in Dublin, Georgia.
Innovative technology lends a hand with the Glove Assist
Everybody needs a helping hand now and again. SourceAmerica’s Productivity Engineering team is dedicated to finding solutions that enhance the talents and skills of people with disabilities in the workplace.
People with disabilities help members of the military step out in style
People with disabilities at Goodwill South Florida, a nonprofit agency in the SourceAmerica network, manufacture and ship the new Army Green Service Uniform.
Some of Tom's co-workers call him a "gentle giant." Others call him "Mr. Fix It." All agree that he's the glue that holds the team together. It's not just his size that puts him head and shoulders above so many others; it's his work ethic, integrity, and dependability. Tom is a service-disabled veteran who spent more than two decades in the United States Navy. His military training shines through both on and off the job at Eggleston Automotive Center, and he is known for consistently and conscientiously taking care of business and taking care of his team.
When Tyrone started his career at Job Options, Inc., he needed a job coach to help him perform his duties. Now, he's coaching others after being promoted to a management position as a housekeeping lead at Naval Medical Center San Diego. Tyrone's supervisors never doubted his ability to excel, pointing to his patience, understanding and tenacity as well as his desire to share his knowledge and experience with co-workers. It took a little longer for Tyrone to learn to believe in himself. Now that he does, he leads by example and energizes his team with his positive attitude and unwavering determination.
Kevin is a great example of what can happen when the right person is in the right job. He joined Lanakila Pacific several years ago and explored a variety of positions before taking on his current role with Lanakila Kitchen. He is known for his smile and dependability and for uplifting co-workers and customers alike. This bustling environment initially posed challenges for Kevin, who has Asperger’s syndrome, but amid the clanking dishes, steaming pots and boisterous camaraderie, he found a job that's a great fit for him as well as for the co-workers he mentors and the community he helps feed.
Kylie's voice is changing the world. She uses it to advocate for herself and to teach others with disabilities to advocate on their own behalf. Her title at the Bobby Dodd Institute is special projects coordinator, but her role is so much more. She is a teacher, an advocate, an innovator and an invaluable member of the team. Kylie keeps people engaged and upbeat, and she inspires her students with the message of, "If I can do it, you can too." She doesn't wait for others to advocate for disability rights; she leads the charge in the call for change.
To Jeremy, the world is full of possibility. Undeterred by challenge or change, he fully commits to the task at hand. When the opportunity arose for Jeremy to participate in GCE’s IT training program, he jumped at the chance. Now he’s a business analyst with the organization—flexing his problem-solving skills and creating a work community that better understands and empowers those who are deaf or hard of hearing. It's a job that took him four states away, but in the end, it brought him home.
Paul served our nation overseas in the United States Army, and he continues to serve our nation's veterans as a customer care representative at lnspiriTec, Inc. Paul carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and a commitment to caring for others in his heart. His unique ability to connect on a personal and professional level with his fellow veterans has made him an invaluable asset to the lnspiriTec team, and with his service dog, Jet, by his side, Paul helps veterans successfully make the transition from combat zones to the civilian workforce.
A persuasive and powerful advocate, Lori has made it her mission to stand up against injustice and use her voice to bring about meaningful change. Lori refuses to let her dystonia hold her back, and she has told her story everywhere from the halls of Congress to her hometown. Prior to joining Goodwill Industries of North Georgia, Lori experienced firsthand the challenges of finding a job with a disability. She is quick to emphasize that advocacy for her isn't about getting special consideration; it's about leveling the playing field and laying the groundwork for a more innovative, inclusive and successful American workforce.
Gene lives life from the heart. He embraces the task and team at hand, putting his whole self into his work at New Leaf, Inc. As a child, Gene was injured in an accident that left him with permanent reminders of that day; as an adult, he has risen above those challenges, earning the admiration of all those who have had the privilege of working with him. Gene has been called a go-getter, a teacher and a motivator, and he serves as an inspiring example of what we can achieve when we tap into the power of our own unique abilities.
Kelly excels at proving people wrong. When others tell her she can't, it doesn't slow her down; it fuels her determination. Known for stepping up to the plate with a smile and solutions-oriented approaches, she defies expectations about what she can achieve as a person living with rheumatoid arthritis. When Kelly was offered an opportunity through Job Options, Inc. to work for a SENTRI Enrollment Center with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, she welcomed the challenge. Since then, she has worked her way up to become lead customer service representative – proving that when you fight for your dreams, anything is possible.
Malcolm is a connector. He excels at finding common ground with others and building on those connections to forge a team where everyone feels at home and empowered to do their best. Before being hired by Professional Contract Services Inc., Malcolm had a hard time engaging with others and getting a job. He found his calling at PCSI, and in turn, his co-workers found a listener, a leader, a mentor and a friend. Malcolm has since earned numerous promotions for his outstanding work, and he is known not just for doing his best, but also for motivating and inspiring others to do theirs.
Ethan is an avid sports enthusiast and one of the University of Utah’s biggest fans. As part of the SourceAmerica Pathways to Careers Program, staff identified not just Ethan’s love of sports, but also his attention to detail, organizational skills, aptitude for caring for equipment, and excellent problem-solving skills. Ethan’s participation in the Pathways program resulted in an internship at the University of Utah, where he was subsequently hired as an assistant athletics equipment attendant. In this position, Ethan interacts daily with university athletes, and his responsibilities include caring for and accounting for uniforms and equipment and packing and unpacking athletes’ bags. Ethan has been employed at the university for over five years – making him one of the longest-tenured employees in the athletic department. Through this opportunity, Ethan is pursuing a career that matches his skills and abilities as well as his dreams, and he’s thrilled that it came with the added bonus of having season tickets to the University of Utah’s sporting events!
Ashtin is productive, helpful and outgoing, and she has excellent customer service skills, which were identified during the SourceAmerica Pathways to Careers Program's Discovery Process. After completing an internship at Legacy House of Ogden, a premier senior living center in Ogden, Utah, Ashtin was hired as a kitchen and dining aide. She has been employed for more than three years in this position, and her responsibilities include taking drink orders, folding napkins, and organizing and prepping the dining area for the next dining service. Ashtin is thriving in this environment, and many of the residents ask for her when they are dining. In April 2017, Kyle, then-director of the Legacy House of Ogden, awarded Ashtin the “Personal Touch” recognition pin for the month of March in honor of her hard work and dedication.
Daniel has been employed at the United States Bankruptcy Court Eastern District in Brooklyn, New York, since 2005. He is an exemplary employee and has great working relationships with the U.S. Attorneys as well as the staff members of the Bankruptcy Court and the General Services Administration. Diagnosed with a learning disability in middle school, Daniel faced many obstacles on his journey to employment. He never stopped fighting his way forward and worked in a number of different positions as he sought to find a job that was the right fit for him. It wasn’t until he came to AHRC that he found long-term employment success. AHRC placed Daniel at a Metropolitan Transit Authority site, and after a year, he was promoted to his current position as light duty specialist/vacuum specialist at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where he continues to gain skills and confidence and contribute as a highly valued member of the team.
Anthony is a firm believer in paying it forward. When he was down on his luck after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he got a second chance through Palmetto Goodwill Services. He's now a project manager and the president of the organization's self-advocacy group. As a way of giving back, Anthony advocates for the people and programs that turned his life around. He's also teaching others to tap into the power of their own voice. Whether working on local issues or a national call to action, Anthony is changing policy and perceptions one person, one issue, one day at a time.
Barbara’s positivity and can-do spirit have the power to light up a room. To those who work with her, she’s a role model, a leader, an inspiration and an expert at her craft. She’s also visually impaired. Not one to let her disability hold her back, she started a small business making home goods like comforters, curtains, throw pillows and shams before going on to a career at VGS, Inc. Now, she works as an expert seamstress with VGS and takes pride in sewing uniforms for members of our nation’s military. Uplifting and upbeat, Barbara puts her whole self into her job, and in doing so, raises up all those around her.
Never give up; always keep going and giving your all. That is how Geno approaches his job as production coordinator at VGS, Inc. and his life with rheumatoid arthritis. With a positive attitude and an aptitude for problem-solving, Geno is known for implementing innovative accommodations for himself and going the extra mile for customers. He is the go-to guy when it comes to making sure customer orders are shipped out on time and tracking them down when needed. Passionate about his job and committed to his co-workers, Geno raises the bar for what it means to be a stellar employee and a steadfast friend.
Driven by duty to country, family, friends and fellow soldiers, Neil answered our nation's call to serve. A soldier by choice and team player by nature, Neil found himself searching for a new path forward after being medically retired from the military due to injuries sustained in Afghanistan. Despite multiple obstacles, Neil never gave up, and his hard work and perseverance earned him a job and numerous promotions with Skookum Contract Services. Neil is known for going above and beyond in everything that is asked of him, and every day he exemplifies his belief that service means giving more than you receive.
Success Stories and Videos
SourceAmerica® advocates for the value in hiring and expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The nonprofit agencies in our network hire these individuals to work in various fields like the auto industry, information technology, and facilities maintenance. We are proud to share some amazing success stories and videos from our network!