Emily Schwegler, The Power of Work Award 2015

Emily Schwegler was referred to Goodwill Industries of RI by Paul Hughett, her vocational rehabilitation counselor,e from Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. At age 17, Emily was attending North Smithfield High School and was in her sophomore year. She began her vocational journey by completing a 10-day vocational evaluation, where she promptly began to teach staff about her visual impairment; she had been diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease and shared her extensive knowledge about adaptive equipment and how it could be used to assist with her limited, yet functional vision issues.

As a result of that evaluation, Emily returned for Goodwill’s Summer Work Preparation Program the following summer, where she worked at Rhode Island Hospital for 8 weeks, sorting and delivering mail. Emily thought that she wanted to pursue becoming a CNA; as a result of this work experience she said that she realized that it was not the career for her.

The following summer Emily returned to try out a 4-week Summer Work Program in childcare; three days into the job she was considered a strong candidate for employment at The Children’s Workshop. After Summer Work, Emily completed a 10-day Community Work Experience at The Children’s Workshop, which provided her potential employer with the opportunity for her to get further training.

At the conclusion of the Work Experience, Emily was hired as a full-time Teacher’s Assistant in a Toddler’s Classroom and has been employed at The Children’s Workshop since August 2014. Emily loves “her kids” and they love Emily. She has a bubbly personality and an extremely positive attitude; she does not let anything get in her way when it comes to accomplishing a goal. Emily serves as a wonderful role model for “her kids” and has provided them with an excellent opportunity for them to learn acceptance of people who may have barriers but who do not allow those barriers to prevent them from living life to the fullest. She is a big personality with a bright future, and is a great example of The Power of Work!