Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Congratulations to our wonderful and dedicated Integrated Work Job Coach Laura Harden on 20 amazing years of transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) Integrated Work day program for adults with IDD and is designed to meet the employment and community integration needs of individuals who are Regional Center clients.
Laura shared with us what keeps her inspired after 20 years and more!
Q. What originally interested you about working at TMI?
A. I love and enjoy helping others, so this job was exactly what I wanted to do.
Q. What is your favorite part about working at TMI?
A. This company helps so many individuals and cares about their employees so very much.
Q. What challenges do you and your clients face?
A. My clients and I had a great work site for over 15 years. Unfortunately, when COVID hit, we had to stay home and have not been able to get back to that same site.
Q. How have you handled the challenges?
A. I have been trying to see if my clients can go back to work at their same site by contacting my supervisor and director for help.
Q. How does making a difference in the lives of your clients make you feel?
A. Assisting them is a pleasure and the rewards are many.
Q. What are your hopes for the future of individuals with developmental disabilities?
A. If there are companies and people who continue to advocate for them, the sky is the limit!
Q. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A. Singing, dancing, spending time with family, and being an Elk, which is a charitable organization that helps and supports veterans, individuals with disabilities, as well as supplies hearing aids, wheelchairs, and scholarships.
Q. Who do you admire and why?
A. My mother and father. They came to the U.S. from Mexico and became U.S. citizens. They are very respected in their community.
Q. Words to live by:
A. Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Q. Is there anything additional that you would like to share with our readers?
A. I am just so very proud and grateful to be a part of this great company that does so much for our clients.
“Laura’s commitment to our clients is truly the backbone of our services,” said TMI Executive Director Rachel Harris. “Outstanding long-term employees, such as Laura, are invaluable to our organization and to our clients who have become like family to them after so many years. Thank you for all that you have done for our clients, Laura. We appreciate you very much!”
Congratulations, Laura! We look forward to having you with us for many more years ahead!
Although paid work is the desired outcome for our Integrated Work clients, many are working as volunteers at a wide variety of nonprofit organizations throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties.
In addition, our clients can access resources in the community such as libraries, fitness centers, restaurants, etc. Each day, clients have a wonderful opportunity to actively assist in the development of their community schedules. Their participation in making decisions about their day reflects their unique skills, support needs and individual preferences.
Interested in having a TMI client join your team?
Looking to join a great organization? Get started with us today!
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.