SANTA ANA Calif. and ANAHEIM, Calif., Sept. 11, 2017 : The kitchen in the cafe where Elizabeth Martinez serves as job coach for three young men with developmental disabilities is a showcase for true integration of people with disabilities into the work force.
Alongside coworkers without disabilities, the men perform their duties with pride and professionalism. The support, encouragement and teaching they receive from Elizabeth has been key to their workplace success, as well as the personal growth they've experienced as a result of their employment.
"I love seeing them grow every day," says Elizabeth, an Anaheim resident who was the 2017 recipient of Regional Center of Orange County's (RCOC) Direct Support Professional Spotlight Award. "It's amazing to see them overcome their fears, and become more verbal and more confident. I know they can do anything they put their minds to!"
Now in her third year as a job coach with Goodwill of Orange County, one of several agencies that RCOC pays to provide supported employment services, Elizabeth began college as a criminal justice major; after an internship in that field, however, she decided it wasn't the career for her and switched to sociology. Around the same time, a family member's baby was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy; that personal experience convinced Elizabeth that helping people with disabilities to overcome their challenges would be her life's work and her passion.
"Professionals like Goodwill's Elizabeth Martinez, who love their work and who go the extra mile every day to serve people with developmental disabilities, are vital to the success of California's regional center system of community care," says Larry Landauer, RCOC's Executive Director. "We can't thank them enough for the amazing and important work they do."
Find any Critical Errors? Please Report It!