Growth Through Opportunity is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to create opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
GTO is looking for students who are respectful of others, positive, dependable, patient, flexible, and creative, among other traits.
Through the program, students partner with first responders at local fire stations, police departments, sheriff’s offices and courthouses, making this an ideal program for those especially interested in psychology, sociology, social work, criminal justice, education, communications, and business.
In addition to gaining experience with varying levels of our justice system and with first responders, students will also develop such skills as developing educational curriculum, teaching/job coaching, and fundraising and marketing.
Students can volunteer, intern, or complete service hours. (Though it is too late in the current semester to set-up an internship.)
Students work as job coaches with recent high school graduates with disabilities (physical, emotional, learning, behavioral), called ‘cadets,’ as they work on-site with members of our justice system and first responders. Each student will have a small group of cadets, around four-to-six, that they will look after.
The program would be both spring and fall, from five-to-twenty hours a week, or from 9 am – 2 pm Monday through Thursday, though students will have to be there all of that time. While students are not paid, GTO is applicable for academic credit or service/volunteer hours, as well as gaining invaluable experience and connections.
Furthermore, GTO will also be at the upcoming job fair on March 19th, 4:30 – 6:30 pm if you are interested and would like to speak to a representative.
Finally, if you are interested but cannot commit to the time or both semesters, the GTO team is currently working with the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services to create a summer camp where students will have the opportunity to be involved.
For those who are interested, please send a letter of interest and resume to Dawn Martin at GTOdawnmartin@gmail.com or contact her at (540)204-5945 if you have any questions.
Martin is a 1998 graduate of Roanoke College with a bachelors degree in psychology. She is happy to help interested students in finding a place at GTO.
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