T.I.G.E.R.S earn recognition

Lucia Gaspar, Lilliana, who’s last name is unknown, and Amy Raya pose with awards outside the Rainbow’s End thrift store in Alamosa.

ALAMOSA— October is Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The School to Work Alliance Program, Blue Peaks Developmental Services, the Work Force Center, the Training Advantage Program and the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, recognized three San Luis Valley programs and businesses employing persons with disabilities.

Each were presented with a plaque recognizing their efforts.

Children’s Garden has employed a young lady, and they have partnered with the Alamosa Work Force Center and SLV BOCES School to Work Alliance Program.

Renae, Career Counselor at the Training Advantage program, said that the Children’s Garden has been amazing in helping a young lady with the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge to perform in a job, including developing the appropriate work habits, as well as becoming accustomed to basic work requirements.

The Children’s Garden has been very supportive to many young individuals. The employee said, “My Favorite part is being around the children and working with them.

This work experience has made 

outgoing and has helped better myself.

“I have enjoyed working with the staff, they have made me feel welcomed; I loved working with the children because it has been my passion to work with children. I would like to thank Children’s Garden for giving me the opportunity to work with them and the children.

Children’s Garden – Alisa Edwards, said: “Partnering with the Workforce Center and the Training Advantage has given us the opportunity to connect with employees in our community that we may not have otherwise.”

Alpine Veterinary Hospital has  given the opportunity to a student to complete a hands-on work experience in their hospital.

The student said: “The Paid Work Experience at the Alpine Vet Hospital was a great experience; I loved learning how to work with different animals. I liked working with the staff that took me under their wings. I enjoyed being there and learning different things every day. It helped me realize that this is the job I want to do.”

The previous owner of Alpine Vet Hospital, Dr. Tyler Ratzlaff, said that he felt “good and happy” to know that the client has learned different skills while working for him. He hopes that everything goes well for her.

Ratzlaff said that he had a very good experience with the student, as she was interested in learning and was always looking for more things to do while she was completing her work experience.

Ratzlaff said he was happy with her work and he is open to provide more work experience for future students.

Dr. Carla Enderle and Dr. Kayla Henderson, the current owners of Alpine Vet Hospital, were very happy to have the student work with them.

Enderle said that “it was great to have someone that has a different perspective. She is happy to know that the student learned a lot and the work experience gave her more confidence in herself.” 

The client was very helpful and it was great to have an extra set of hands, Enderle said.

Byron Syring, from Delta Center, said There were two students who completed a work experience at the school with the office staff.

Tish Deherrera, an administrative assistant, said, “It’s rewarding to be able to help our youth prepare to enter the work force and be able to be a part of their transition into adulthood.”

Deherrera said that she was happy to know there are agencies out there that support our youth.

Both youth worked throughout the year and enjoyed their work experience.

One student said it has helped her with keeping a schedule and budgeting.

During her work experience, SWAP taught her about financial literacy-budgeting, and the other student learned about communication skills and the importance of communication with her employer. 

Rainbow’s End had a student complete a work experience.

The student said, “It’s been good. I’ve learned a lot more as I go along.  Everyone is great to work with here.”

She has learned many skills about time management, scheduling and communication skills, as well as customer service skills.  She has enjoyed this work experience. 

Staff member Lilianna, who’s last name is unknown, said,” It has been nice working with the student.  She is quiet and (a)sweet young lady to work with. 

“She tries hard to get things done.  It has been fun to work with her.” 

Lillianna added that this student has grown a lot working there.

Each of the placements means that another person has potential for long-term employment and the benefits that go along with having a job. Those benefits include the ability to live a fuller life and achieve dreams and goals. The positive impact extends beyond the student and the employer to family, friends and community.

T.I.G.E.R.S. salutes the programs and employers who recognize the needs of students and extend themselves to those students.

The Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is a state agency that provides a variety of services to persons in the San Luis Valley, seeking employment and who need support to overcome disabilities and other issues.

For more information, call 589-5158.

SWAP is a joint project of DVR and the San Luis Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services. It provides similar support for people aged 15-25. For more information about SWAP or T.I.G.E.R.S., an organization that works with youths transitioning into adulthood, contact Amy Raya of SWAP at 587-5410.

Blue Peaks Developmental Services is our local CCB, which provides support to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the San Luis Valley in achieving their fullest potential for integrated and responsible living and working in the community.

For more information, call 589-5135.

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