The Lions Clubs of District 20-Y2

Serving New York State's Capital District and Eastern Leatherstocking Region

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Troy and Albany Lions Clubs
help the disabled find employment

Thanks to the efforts of the Albany and Troy Lions Clubs, on Wednesday, October 24th, 2001, 6 job seekers with visual impairments participated in a disability employment mentoring day, sponsored by State Farm Insurance, at its North Atlantic Regional Office in Ballston Spa. This half-day event gave participants, through group and individual contact with mentors at the company, the opportunity to learn about potential careers in the insurance industry, and areas which support it, such as clerical work, information technology, and public relations.

Participants were paired, as closely as possible, with mentors working in fields they wished to explore as career choices. Through this program, not only were they able to learn the usual things most people need to consider when looking at career possibilities, but how feasible a career of interest might be, given the constraints, or lack of them, a particular disability might present, and ways they might be eliminated or reduced through creative thinking.

Some participants submitted resumes to State Farm, which currently has openings. At least one of them will continue e-mail contact with his mentor.

State Farm's first-time effort in this region is part of National Disability Mentoring Day, another activity in Disability Employment month, co-sponsored by the National Association of People with Disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities, designed to increase employment of people with disabilities.

Mike O'Brien from the Career Planning and Placement Center at Hudson Valley Community College, and a member of the Troy Lions Club, as well as Deborah McMahon, Placement Specialist, Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany (NABA), worked with the Albany and Troy Lions Clubs for transportation of the participants to and from State Farm. Much thanks to Jerry Gordon, Zone Chairperson, Larry Krug, President of the Albany club, and both Janet Jones, Albany Club Secretary, and John Milliren, president of the Troy Club, for transporting the participants. By assisting with this worthwhile private sector initiative, these clubs really demonstrated what Lionism is all about.