This week, Brevard Achievement Center (BAC) Associates Kyle G. and Jackie G. (no relation) are in Washington, D.C. speaking with congressional legislators as part of the 25th annual SourceAmerica Grassroots Advocacy conference. President and CEO Amar Patel, as well as Operations Coordinator Kristen Cavanagh, and Kyle’s parents, are part of the BAC delegation.
Before discovering BAC’s Langley Air Force Base contract, Kyle says his autism hindered him from finding the right job. Struggles with social skills, an affinity for repetitive tasks and employers not giving him a chance all factored in to his unemployment he said. But thanks to the AbilityOne program, Kyle is a full-time shelf-stocker at Langley – his first job and one that he has held for more than a year.
“I wish that people would recognize that we have the same hopes, dreams and desires as everyone else,” Kyle said. “Sometimes our limitations are not that big of a deal.”
For Jackie, a military veteran, working on BAC’s Riverside Dining facility contract at Patrick Air Force Base is the perfect fit. She not only has a sense of pride and accomplishment that gainful full-time employment allows, but also a sense of security knowing that her paycheck gives her the means to live comfortably and independently.
“For the first time in a very long time I am able to live in a nice apartment and maintain my financial commitments,” said Jackie. “But, more than that, where I work I am appreciated and my supervisors have faith in me. I matter. Because of that, I can be successful.”
Advocates like Kyle and Jackie are the most valuable assets to others with disabilities hoping to secure gainful community employment like the AbilityOne program provides. Thanks to their advocacy this week, federal legislators will hear firsthand the importance of the program and why it is so vital to people with disabilities.