Bridges Winter 2022 Update

December 20, 2022

Bridges From School To Work has been a tremendous asset and collaborative partner with Fort Worth ISD Special Education and Transition Support Services for eight years. We are especially pleased with the “hands-on” approaches taken by Bridges staff members. The FWISD Special Education Department readily endorses Bridges From School To Work for working so effectively with students, parents, schools, and businesses.

Dianne Kendrick Hawkins, Ed. D.
Director | Special Education Department
Fort Worth Independent School District

Participant Spotlights

Ty’Shai Clay of Atlanta

In Atlanta, Therrell High School senior Ty’Shai Clay has been employed for more than one year as a Sales Floor Attendant at Old Navy, a job she got through Bridges as a high school junior. Her early work experience was instrumental in her selection as the Parliamentarian for Georgia’s statewide Career Technical Instruction program.

Ty’Shai’s other achievements include several extracurricular activities, such as volunteering as a coach for the nonprofit organization Soccer in the Streets, whose mission is to help youth discover their potential on and off the soccer field.

In high school, her course of study has focused on Audio Video Technology and Film (AVTF), a program that can lead to an industry-recognized credential relevant for Georgia’s booming film and television industry.

Already a young lady with an impressive past, Ty’Shai’s future looks bright. She plans to enroll in a four-year college or university after she graduates from high school in May 2023.

Bianca Tinsley and Jordan Jackson of Chicago
Ty’Shai Clay of Atlanta
Bianca Tinsley and Jordan Jackson of Chicago
Jakobe Glover of Atlanta

Jakobe Glover of Atlanta

Sometimes we encounter young adults who have to assume adult responsibility far too soon: Jakobe Glover and his twin sister lost their mother before they graduated from high school in May 2022. Their transition to adulthood has been far more abrupt than that of their peers.

Nevertheless, Jakobe and his sister have demonstrated tremendous resilience; they now share an apartment and are living independently. Since September, Jakobe has been working full-time as a Utility Steward at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Hotel, a job he got with support from his Bridges Employer Representative, Sharron Pearson.

A polite young man with a fantastic attitude, Jakobe is ideally suited for the hospitality industry. He’s weighing several career options, including the possibility of pursuing culinary training, no doubt inspired by his experience working for Marriott.

Terence Vasquez of Boston

As a high school student at Excel Academy in Boston, Terence Vasquez (left) worked part-time for two years in an AMC theatre. When he graduated in June 2021, he wanted to transition to a full-time job with advancement potential.

As part of his goal for pursuing a more career-oriented position, his Bridges Employer Representative, Sandra Meetran (right), helped Terence replace a lost Social Security card, create his résumé, fine tune his interviewing skills, and explore different job options. He was interested in travel and hospitality, so Terence and Sandra pursued opportunities at the Omni Seaport Hotel.

After Terence aced his interviews with three different Omni Seaport Hotel managers, he was hired on the spot. Since August of 2021, Terence has worked as an Omni front desk agent in this 1,054-room property. He earns an excellent wage and is excited about the hotel’s advancement opportunities. In March 2022, Terence won the “Front of House Omni Service Champion” award.

Bianca Tinsley and Jordan Jackson of Chicago
Terence Vasquez of Boston with his Bridges Employer Representative, Sandra Meetran (right)
Bianca Tinsley and Jordan Jackson of Chicago
Graham Scurlock of the Bay Area

Graham Scurlock of the Bay Area

When Graham Scurlock of the Bay Area turned 17 and entered his final year of high school, his parents were concerned what the future would hold for this young man with a developmental disability. Diagnosed with autism at age four, Graham struggled socially and academically most of his life. He grapples with understanding the world but sees and senses things that others don’t.

Graham’s mom, Jackie, worried whether Graham would be able to fit in with traditional work experiences or businesses. When Jackie connected with Lisel Brunson at Bridges, however, Lisel reassured Jackie that she would find something tailored to Graham’s unique skills and interests.

Since mid-October, Graham has worked in an internship at Waterside Workshops in Berkeley, where he has been guided by a dedicated mentor and exposed to a variety of interesting learning opportunities.

Waterside Workshops operates a bike repair shop and a boat shop, where young adults help build and paint boats and miniature cars. They also take the boats out on the water. Since day one, Graham has felt like he belongs.

“I am so thrilled that Lisel found this paid internship for him and know that the time he is spending there will have a lasting impact on his confidence and career path. From our initial conversation with Lisel, I knew we were in the perfect hands with her and with the Bridges program,” said Jackie Kersh, Graham’s mom.

Calvin Pegram of Philadelphia

Calvin Pegram of Philadelphia has been employed with Cleanlogic for more than six months. Located near Valley Forge, Cleanlogic manufactures and ships bath and body care products, including exfoliators, scrub brushes, and sponges. The company offers a line of sustainable products with certified organic cotton, recycled polyester, and soy-based foam.

Project packaging comes standard with information in braille, and it is made with 100% tree-free paper and soy-based ink. A socially and environmentally responsible company, Cleanlogic aims to have persons with disabilities make up 75% of its workforce by 2026.

At Cleanlogic, Calvin works as a production associate for a popular body sponge, a role that involves sewing, attaching a packaging sleeve, and bundling items into cartons for shipping. To foster safety and success for its employees, managers function as mentors, working in tandem with floor aides who circulate throughout the facility to answer questions and provide help when employees need it. Cleanlogic even invited Calvin’s parents to tour the facility and ask questions until they were satisfied that the company would offer a supportive and nurturing environment that would meet his needs.

Though Calvin is the first Philadelphia Bridges participant to work at Cleanlogic, the company offers tours and information sessions for groups of Bridges participants throughout the year. For more information about Cleanlogic, click the video link below. Cleanlogic is a brand of IMS Trading, LLC.

Bianca Tinsley and Jordan Jackson of Chicago
Graham Scurlock of the Bay Area

Bridges Staffing Updates

Congratulations to the following individuals for their new job titles:

Maggie McAleer
has been promoted to Grants Contract Manager in Chicago.

Jasmine Washington
has been promoted to an Employer Representative II in Dallas.

Kevin McCarthy
has been promoted to Director for Bridges of Boston.

Greg Meves
has been promoted to Director for Bridges of New York City.

Joseph Naves
has been promoted to Director for Bridges of Los Angeles.

Tony Singleton
has been promoted to Director for Bridges of Atlanta.

Liz Duran
has transitioned from a Training Specialist to an Employer Representative for Bridges of New York City.