Welcome to #WednesdaysStory! Tune in the first Wednesday of every month to read a story about people in The Family Resource Network Community! This month is National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month so today’s story is about one of our Employment Program Students: Carly Smith*. She is an Accounting major and an Information Technology minor at her University. We have seen Carly blossom into a bright young student who is exploring her passions, challenging herself, and gaining confidence.
About our Employment Program
Our employment program is an employment readiness program for people who are blind and visually impaired who attend or are interested in attending It is designed to assist undergraduate college students with developing strong academic, professional, and social skills; exploring career options; and gaining on-the-job experiences that will allow them to build strong resumes and become very strong candidates for the jobs they pursue after graduation. Students receive in person visits from career advisors each semester where they work with them on individualized plans to build skills in areas they have identified and we work together to fortify these skills. If you are interested in learning more about this program and additional requirements to apply please contact us at 732-937-6397.
Pursuing Her Interests
When we first met Carly, she was initially unsure of what she wanted to pursue, but had always demonstrated very strong passions. Since starting in the Employment program, Carly had an interest in accounting but was also interested in social work and social justice. Carly is very strategically minded, so she has a natural interest in accounting for this very reason, but has always had a soft spot for helping others in her community. Ultimately she leaned toward accounting and decided to major in accounting with a minor in Information Technology – another interest of hers.
While she ultimately didn’t choose to study social work, her passion for social justice was still alive nonetheless. So to pursue this passion, she decided to get involved in social justice organizations on campus. Since she had so many interests, she figured that she might as well pursue them all; although this was a big undertaking, it did not stop Carly. She joined the Office of Violence Prevention and the Ebony Women for Social Change Club at her university alongside her accounting major.
A Pivotal Moment
We recently helped connect Carly with Open Society Foundations where she managed to acquire an internship under their Women’s Right’s Program. This experience, gave her a clear picture of her career trajectory and gave her an idea for how to merge her interest in accounting with her interest in social justice. She is now interested in Corporate Social Responsibility, hoping to one day be an advisor for a corporation. In this capacity she hopes that she will be able to leverage her strategic strengths with her passion for social justice.
This newfound career vision has invigorated Carly with the confidence to pursue many new challenges at once that she might not have pursued when we first met her. Since first joining student organizations, she has worked her way into the Treasury position for the Ebony Women for Social Change Club and also the Student Manager position at the Office of Violence Prevention. The Director of the Office of Violence Prevention, Carly’s boss, has herself stated how much of an impact Carly had on her, stating that she even inspired her to create a larger focus on anti-violence initiatives on people with disabilities within the Office of Violence Prevention.
Onward and Upward
Today, Carly is still taking on even more new challenges and furthering her career goals. She has spoken at panels at her university discussing disabilities openly and she is also starting a brand new club dedicated to advocating for people with disabilities within each department of her university.
Carly has certainly come a long way since starting with us at the Employment Program. Through her own determination and growth, Carly was able to keep challenging herself and acquired marvelous achievements as a result. These successes have given Carly confidence as a college student, soon to be professional, and as a person. Every time we see Carly she seems to have taken on a new challenge in pursuit of her aspirations. But where will her passion take her next?
*Carly Smith has been given this alias to be kept anonymous