‘Achieve DFW’ Enhances Disabled Adult Independence 

Achieve participants smiling for a photograph. | Image from Achieve DFW Website

Achieve was founded in the year 1951 and was initially a school just for children with disabilities. It acted as an educational apparatus and a training ground for disabled children to develop their social skills.

The school partnered with other organizations in North Texas and, in 1981, decided to branch out. Rather than just focusing on the disabled children, they decided that now they wanted to work with adults.

Due to their work, the public school system had a mandate for special education introduced that took Achieve’s place in the schools. This gave Achieve the option to help adults.

They go on to say, “We took over the operation of the Dallas Work Opportunity and Retraining Center, a struggling occupational training center, and changed our name to Citizens Development Center. In 1987 [we began to] include veterans with disabilities, and in 2015 we further expanded our services to veterans through a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission. […] This grant continues to be extended and increased.”

The mission statement of Achieve is “To empower individuals and those with disabilities to work to achieve their highest level of employment and independence.” 

Achieve offers a few different programs, including the Work Center Program, The VAT (Vocational Adjustment Training), Work Experience Training, Mobile Work Crews, and an Employment Program.

The Work Center Program gives work experience and core skills to put on a resume for future employers and other paid opportunities or internships to prepare them for the career world.

The Vocational Adjustment Training is made for high school students and acts as a transition to special education classes. It offers six different modules, and they educate on topics such as being self-aware, having self-respect, disability disclosure, general work skills and knowledge, and money management and finances.

The Work Experience Training is a hands-on and immersive experience for disabled students to know what to expect when transitioning into the workforce. It teaches and reinforces skills deemed necessary in the career world as well as helps them to see what career path fits them best.

The Mobile Work Crew provides the general public with physical jobs like car-washing and landscaping.

Finally, the Employment Program focuses solely on helping the disabled find and, more importantly, keep a steady job. It provides:

  • Job readiness training.
  • Hands-on workshops.
  • A weekly support meeting.
  • Other things to prepare participants for their first job.

Donations needed include a wide variety of items, from cars to everyday household products. The products they need include toiletries like deodorant and hand sanitizer, dishes such as microwavable safe bowls and plates, computer supplies like a mouse and keyboard, arts and crafts supplies, and more. 

Achieve also accepts office supplies like sharpies and tape dispensers, exercise equipment, gardening needs like bags of mulch, and other items. 

If you have an ample supply of any of these donations, you are always appreciated, and you can find a complete list of their needs and the amount they need on some products. 

Monetary donations are also always welcome and go to helping the disabled thrive. 

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