“My Self, My World, My Dreams”: JR Rivas

At Ontario ARC, we want people to be as independent, happy, and successful as they can possibly be. Five years ago JR Rivas was embarking on his education and considering career goals, just like many other young adults. Today JR, a member of the first class to graduate from Ontario ARC’s Project SEARCH and now a longtime employee at Finger Lakes Health-Geneva General Hospital, has his sights set on bigger life goals.

The once quiet student has decided to initiate a bittersweet conversation—about his independence and less need for support from Ontario ARC. Staying focused on his busy work day, for example, now outweighs his need for Ontario ARC job coach support visits.

JR joined Finger Lakes Health as a Project SEARCH intern. The Hospital is located in his neighborhood and JR has built a fulfilling social circle around his work relationships. He has been employed since July 2013 as a Housekeeping Aid, starting per diem and now working fulltime. FLH honored JR as Employee of the Year in 2015, and he now mentors Project SEARCH interns at the hospital.

JR’s success story continues to unfold. In his push to become more autonomous and live to his potential within his chosen community, JR is considering driving lessons and has begun the process of petitioning to be his own guardian.

“JR has worked hard to progress through programs, and now identifies that he really doesn’t need any job support,” says Tracy Cardinale, Habilitation Coordinator. “When he talks about it, the smile on his face shows how proud and happy he is about how far he has come.”

Ontario ARC is proud to be accredited by CQL, whose mission is to support individuals in achieving their life goals and dreams.