Updated: Aug 22, 2019
Alisha Donnell has only been a Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) Supported Employment Associate Division Manager for four months, but she has already made a positive impact in the lives of our clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is currently enrolled as a full-time student in a Master of Social Work Program and set to graduate in 2021 from ASU online. She comes to us with experience that will undoubtedly contribute to transforming the lives of our clients.
Q. What interested you about working at TMI?
A. My interest came from my passion to advocate for disadvantaged communities. I have a lot of experience working with youth in higher education, but I wanted to do something that would allow me to more directly impact people’s lives in arenas outside of education. From discussions with peers in the community, I discovered TMI and I was immediately attracted to the awesome stories about the impact that TMI is making on the lives of their clients. I knew I wanted to be a part of that impact as well.
Q. What experience will help you in your position?
A. I worked as a peer counselor supervisor at OASIS UCSD, overseeing student counseling for minority, low income, and disabled students – before being a supervisor I started as a peer counselor at the same company advocating for students in various community spaces. This position focused on the professional success, social integration, and mental health of students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. Specifically, being able to use resources available, as well as discovering ways to navigate the independent growth of students was a vital component of that position.
I also held a community liaison position at UCSD which allowed me to build partnerships with various agencies and allies in the greater San Diego area in order to empower, educate, and advocate for minority rights and opportunities in higher education and employment after college graduation.
I also have experience working with high school students with learning disabilities – assisting them to graduate from high school and/or develop a plan post-graduation to reach their goals.
Q. What is your favorite part about working at TMI?
A. The positive energy from staff is amazing, welcoming, and really makes it a joy to go to work every day. But what I love the most is working with the clients. Having the privilege to meet such amazing people and help them improve their lives is my favorite part of the job.
Q. What are your hopes for the future of individuals with developmental disabilities?
A. As I continue to work at TMI, I hope to see that people with disabilities are feeling more empowered and they receive the recognition they deserve.
Q. How does making a difference in the lives of your clients make you feel?
A. It makes me feel great that I’m able to provide the support that they need to succeed.
Q. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A. Paint and drawing, attending art and music events – open mics, art galleries, concerts, etc., spending time with family and friends.
Q. Words to live by?
A. Those who matter don’t mind, those who mind don’t matter.
We are very happy to have Alisha on the TMI administrative team and look forward to great things from her!
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. 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.