Tracy was born with PKU disease which resulted in developmental delays. She came to Brevard Achievement Center (BAC) when she was 29 years old, in May of 1990 and enrolled in the Adult Day Training Program. Upon starting at BAC, Tracy had stated that she wanted to work with technology or in the field of childcare. In her years at BAC Tracy focused on learning skills such as self-care, self-advocacy, basic job skills, computer skills, and she worked in BAC’s production facility. Due to Tracy’s conscientious work ethic, she was often chosen first for technical and intricate projects in the production facility.
Tracy also utilized the Supported Living program at BAC where a designated coach will help her complete tasks such as grocery shopping, personal purchases, banking, and making and attending appointments so that she can maintain living independently in her own apartment.
As a devote Christian, Tracy regularly volunteers at her church, assisting in the nursery or supervising the school-aged children while they are on the playground. She also sings in the church choir and has stated that her faith and relationships within the church “keeps me going when life gets tough”.
Tracy established a routine in which she was comfortable at BAC, however, she still had the desire to work with children in a community setting. In 2017, 27 years after she initially enrolled with BAC, Tracy was accepted into BAC’s Industry Readiness Training (IRT) Program. This multidisciplinary, structured program is designed to offer individuals with differing abilities who have a strong interest in transitioning into community employment the chance to achieve their goals. Through individualized goal setting and training, Tracy was taught the skills needed to excel in her choice of career.
“After going through the Industry Readiness Training, she showed such amazing growth from where she started.” Stated Don Samuels, BAC’s Employment Transition Services Training Lead. “And we knew she could do so much greater.”
After completing the IRT program in June of 2019, Tracy was offered an On The Job Training (OJT) opportunity at Parkhurst Academy, a faith-based private school in Melbourne. Parkhurst did not have any open position that would be a good fit for Tracy and decided to work with the IRT team to create a new position where Tracy could excel.
Tracy utilizes the Space Coast Area Transit for her transportation, unfortunately, there is not a bus stop close to Parkhurst Academy. Tracy decided that she would still take the OJT and would ride her bicycle to and from work. “I had to run behind her while she biked it to the school, so I could make sure that she could do it physically. I did that for 3 days. It was good exercise.” Don recalled.
In September of 2019, Tracy completed her on the job training with Parkhurst Academy. Although the position created for Tracy’s training was not an official position within the school, Rose Mazella, WING Program Coordinator, proposed to the board of directors that the position be created and offered to Tracy permanently. The board agreed unanimously, and the position was offered to Tracy within the week.
Tracy was ecstatic to accept the permanent community-based employment as the official School Aide. She currently works 15 hours a week, 5 hours per day for 3 days. Her responsibilities during the school day include:
- Supporting student’s safety and well-being entering the school by helping in the car loop for drop-off.
- Cleaning of restrooms.
- Dust-mopping of hallways.
- Cleaning windows.
- Clean cafeteria tables and floors during lunch periods.
- Assist the children during lunch
- Assist in classroom activities.
- Motivate students for maximum potential.
Tracy also assists with the deep cleaning of tables, chairs, desks, floors, and windows during non-school hours.
Since accepting the position Tracy has started using Uber to get to and from work and logs it as an Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE).
Tracy has also since participated in BAC’s Dream, Wish and Wonder program. When asked by the Dream Team what her wildest dream was, she simply replied, “To visit the Holy Land Experience.” With the donations from our dream pool, BAC was able to send Tracy on a day to the Holy Land with chaperone Nikia B.
Arriving at the doors of the enormous building, Tracy could hardly contain her excitement. Together she and Nikia entered a world of tranquility and immediately began exploring. Tracy’s favorite moments were attending four live shows. The actor’s portrayal of biblical experiences made Tracy feel “dazed” with its realism. One, in particular, was the Tabernacle Tour of the Arc of the Covenant. “It’s like the Bible come to life!” she exclaimed.
“Tracy’s employment with Parkhurst Academy is a wonderful fit, and that is what we were looking for.” Said Don, “A cohesive fit specifically for Tracy and the faculty at Parkhurst, and that is what we got.”