The students of The College Experience recently gathered in the heart of the State Capitol to show their support at a rally on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 advocating for gainful employment on behalf of those who have disabilities! Our program and entire agency of Living Resources take an active stance with regards to securing employment and professional training for those we serve so they will have more than a fighting chance as adults. Unfortunately, the circumstances for those with special needs are far from perfect and when society embraces those who are differently-abled, all of us win! There are countless individuals with disabilities who are able-bodied in other ways physically and/or mentally. Plenty of hard workers in this population are instead disabled by the lack of chances and doomed first impressions during interviews that are actually misunderstandings.
Mr. Jesse A. Saperstein, our 39-year-old Media and Activities Liaison, delivered a well-received speech in which he detailed his own struggles with employment and the unavoidable failures that plagued him during his younger years. He spoke of how the barriers and underemployment continued even after he had more seasoned social graces and was a successful author with Penguin Group (USA). Even while being paid to speak all over the country as a reputable professional, the only consistent position available to him for a while was washing dishes for $9.00 an hour, which Jesse did for a few months back in 2012. While there is nothing shameful about washing dishes, he was also capable of other contributions that did not come to fruition for a long time. Jesse lives with Asperger’s syndrome and was able to build an independent life away from his family thanks to Living Resources giving him an opportunity to work for The College Experience.
Most important, Jesse also spoke about the phenomenal abilities of the students and alumni of The College Experience standing behind him. Our students have had internships at places such as the District Attorney’s Office and local banks. They are an example of how important it is to never rest on our laurels with regards to continuing to “break down barriers.”
We thank the political leaders and others in attendance that day. There were many more speakers who also gave testimonials about their respective experiences as people with disabilities and/or advocates! Special appreciation goes out to our Director of Employment Services Ian Mott and his colleague, Brian Monaco for assisting Jesse with his speech!
Check out the footage of Jesse’s public oration: