Cesar Peraza Brings Experience & Dedication to TMI Employment Program for Veterans with Disabilities
A veteran himself, Cesar Peraza joined Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) to launch our new Veteran Employment Services program to assist veterans with disabilities with achieving their employment goals. Cesar's passion and dedication to making a difference in the lives of veterans is the driving force behind his work. He was just beginning to launch the program when the pandemic struck, but he still managed to successfully get the program off the ground and is already making a difference in the lives of the veterans TMI serves. Cesar shared more about this innovative program with us, as well as what drives him.
Q. What interested you about working at TMI?
A. My interest in helping people find work dates back several years as a volunteer. I discovered TMI and learned of the various programs and became immediately interested. My motivation to help veterans was the result of our service men and women suffering with PTSD taking their own lives. My goals is to help curve that statistic downward.
Since 2007, I have volunteered as Director of Veteran Support Services at Ferdinand’s Animal Rescue where I have been connecting veterans and their families to support services in their area.
Q. What is your favorite part about working at TMI?
A. The TMI staff, its culture and working in a community of people who are dedicated to serving others in times of need.
Q. What challenges do you and your clients face as a result of the pandemic?
A. The COVID-19 pandemic has stifled many businesses resulting in reduced employment hours and sudden layoffs. While employers struggle to get their businesses stabilized, finding jobs with new social distancing requirements makes locating employment for my clients more challenging.
Q. How have you handled the challenges?
A. As with any challenge I am presented with, I find new ways to get the same results. Creativity, adaptability and a big dose of teamwork always gives way to innovation and outside-the-box thinking.
Q. How are you assisting your clients during the pandemic?
A. I am able to assist my clients with understanding various technology, platforms (Zoom, etc.), and ways that they can use their computers to keep themselves connected. This approach is helping them to develop skills that will further enhance their job search strategies and increase their technical competence.
Q. How does making a difference in the lives of your clients make you feel?
A. It is the single most rewarding part of my day.
Q. What are your hopes for the future of the program?
A. It is my goal to drive awareness of the TMI Veteran Program throughout ALL TMI locations and provide veteran services in those communities.
Q. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A. I have the pleasure of working on my ranch in Jamul where my wife and I care for rescued animals. We have boarding for everything from horses to goats, pigs, ducks, turkeys, dogs and a whole lot of wild birds.
Q. Who do you admire and why?
A. I admire my parents. Through them I learned to become the best version of myself. In a multi-cultural world and across generational changes in society, my parents taught me the virtues of patience and struggle.
Q. Words to live by:
To live by choice, not by chance,
To be motivated, not manipulated,
To be useful, not used,
To make changes, not excuses,
To excel, not compete.
I choose self-esteem, not self-pity.
I choose to listen to my inner-voice,
Not the random opinions of others.
I choose to do the things that others won’t so I can continue to do the things that others can’t.”
The Wisdom Warrior
We love that! Thank you to Cesar for all you are doing during this challenging time to make an impact in the lives of veterans with disabilities. He is a valuable addition to the TMI team!
Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) Veteran Employment Services program is designed to assist veterans with disabilities to choose, obtain, and maintain employment commensurate with their career choice and vocational interests within San Diego County. Individual strengths and abilities, prior work experience, and career preference will be integral factors in determining placement. Vocational assessment, as well as social, psychological, communication, environmental, and medical needs will also be considered. The goal is to pre-screen and match qualified individuals with employers. TMI is confident that veterans with disabilities can achieve their employment aspirations with our assistance.
Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.