Evelyn Brown

“Having a Disability Doesn’t Define You”: Evelyn’s Project SEARCH Story

Oct 14 2022

There is currently a great demand for the right employees with the right skills. And our Project SEARCH program at Bon Secours St. Francis is aiming to meet this need.

Project SEARCH is a collaboration between Bon Secours St. Francis, Greenville County School District and SC Vocational Rehabilitation. It creates opportunities for young adults with disabilities to develop marketable and transferable employability skills that can lead to meaningful, competitive employment as well as greater independence.

The program does this by providing immersive work skills training and school-required academics for high school students who are 18 to 21 years. Each student participates in three separate internships, each lasting nine to 10 weeks. They receive support from their Greenville County School District’s teacher and job skills trainer, SC Vocational Rehabilitation’s job coach and counselor, our Bon Secours St. Francis workforce coordinator and the mentor in their departments.

Through the work skills, confidence and experiences gained in their internships, these students grow and learn how to become successful employees!

For example, Evelyn Brown (pictured above and in copy) is a successful graduate of the 2021 – 2022 Project SEARCH class. She trained in our cath lab, respiratory and transport departments during her time in the program.

“When I started the program, I was nervous and didn’t have confidence,” Evelyn shares. “I didn’t think I could handle the job responsibilities. But with the support of my mom, the Project SEARCH staff, my mentors and the encouragement of my classmates, I learned I could do a lot.”

She continues, “having a disability doesn’t define you. We can all learn and excel in any job when we have good support. Project SEARCH helped me build my confidence and helped me learn from my mistakes because we all make them.”

Evelyn is now an employee at Bon Secours St. Francis Eastside and is working as a patient transporter.

“The best part of my job is talking to the patients and helping them get their minds off of why they are in the hospital,” she shares. “I think I do offer ‘good help to those in need.’”

Evelyn is just one of many success stories to come out of our Project SEARCH program. Many of our graduates are now employed – some at our hospital and others in the community. In fact, our program is recognized annually by the national Project SEARCH office for our successful employment outcomes.

Live in the Greenville, S.C. area? Our Project SEARCH program is open to students in the Greenville County School District. For more information about the program, contact Cheryl Johnson at cheryl_johnson@bshsi.org.

Also, learn about the health care services we offer at Bon Secours.

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