'They can do the job'

Mentors and mentees gather for a group shot
Tim Croft
Published: Friday, November 9, 2012 at 11:19 AM.

Jeremiah Wright learned a valuable lesson while shadowing County Commissioner Tan Smiley for a day.

Wright spent time with Smiley at the county courthouse and the Gulf County Jail and learned something straightforward from Smiley about the jail.

“Don’t go in there,” Wright said, a smile creasing his face.

Wright and Smiley were among roughly a dozen teams who participated last week in Disability Mentoring Day, a statewide initiative held in conjunction with Florida Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The mentoring day is a chance to demonstrate two things: for the developmentally disabled the atmosphere of the workplace and for small business owners and elected officials the opportunity to see that the developmentally disabled aren’t really all that disabled when it comes to performing workplace tasks.

“That is the aim, to show them what a real job is about, what their dream is about,” said Dianna Harrison, director of Gulf County ARC. “And more important to me is that we want to make it clear that even if a person is developmentally disabled they can do the job.

“They might need a little more time or a few more tools than the next person, but they can do any job.”

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