Updated: Sep 1, 2022
A client with Toward Maximum Independence (TMI), a nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Lashandra is an Environment Services Technician (EVS) with the support of her TMI Job Coach Roz Lapierre who provides mentoring and employment support for Lashandra, as well as transportation to and from work.
On June 1, Lashandra was cleaning at Sycuan Casino and Resort when she walked by two guests talking about bullets. She overheard them saying “do you have any bullets on you right now?” Lashandra immediately called her Sycuan supervisor to let him know what she heard and Sycuan took precautionary measures. The Sycuan team was extremely grateful for her quick thinking which potentially saved lives. As a result, Lashandra was awarded the Sycuan Safety Award.
Lashandra has faced her share of challenges in life, but she has become a stronger and more confident woman because of it. It is this strength which gave her the confidence to act when needed. With TMI’s assistance over the last six years, Lashandra has become more focused than ever to be independent.
“Becoming more independent has made me feel very happy, excited and unstoppable,” said Lashandra.
Being employed allows Lashandra to live a full life. In her free time, she enjoys assisting her children with reaching their own personal goals, as well as spending time with her grandchildren and shopping.
Lashandra hopes to one day purchase her own home and get her driver’s license, as well as buy her own car.
“Sycuan has given me the opportunity to succeed,” added Lashandra. “One day, I would like to be an EVS Manager. My advice to those who are facing challenges is to stay strong, stay focused and keep going.”
Great advice, Lashandra! Thank you for acting quickly and congratulations on the Sycuan Safety Award. Well-deserved!
The partnership between Sycuan, TMI and our clients has strengthened over the years. The onset of the pandemic resulted in layoffs at Sycuan due to safety concerns. Once operations resumed, there was a need to hire EVS Technicians. Sycuan graciously provided the opportunity to our clients to be rehired in this new position. They have been doing an excellent job ever since with the support of TMI and the Sycuan management team. Currently, eight TMI clients are working at Sycuan. They say it’s a great place to work! Two of our clients recently celebrated their five year anniversary as employees of Sycuan.
Sycuan has proven their commitment to an inclusive workforce by continuing to provide employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities and working closely with organizations like ours to build a workforce that is reflective of the community that they serve.
It is the mission of the TMI Supported Employment program to support, enhance and educate the general workforce population on the contributing value of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through personalized integration, training and advocacy, TMI helps to develop the capabilities and strengths of all people desiring to work.
(Thank you to Roz Lapierre for contributing to this story and being an amazing TMI Job Coach.)
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.